English cricket’s new domestic tournament – The Hundred is going to witness the equal prize money for the men’s and women’s fixtures and the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced the news on Wednesday. The ECB set the budget of £600,000 ($769,000, 689,000 euros) which will be divided fifty-fifty between the women’s and men’s games as part of the governing body’s “commitment to making cricket a gender-balanced sport”.
The Hundred is a new tournament that consists of eight city-based franchises, replacing England’s traditional county system. Teams will bat for 100 balls each, where every over will lasting for 10 balls and bowlers either bowling five or 10 balls on a row. All eight franchises will have both men’s and women’s teams as both the competitions will be played simultaneously.
“Women’s professional cricket is on an exciting journey and whilst there is still a way to go to realise gender-parity, this move from the Hundred is a significant step in the right direction,” said England captain Heather Knight, who will lead the London Spirit in the Hundred.
She has led England to the semi-finals of the ongoing women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia as well where they will take on India. She again said that they are very happy and excited about playing in the new competition and also hoped that this will inspire more young girls and boys to pick up cricket as a profession.
Beth Barrett-Wild, the head of the Hundred’s women’s competition, said:
“The ECB is committed to transforming women’s and girls’ cricket, from inspiring young girls to pick up a bat for the first time, through to establishing the women’s game as a professional career option. This announcement today represents one signal of intent towards that commitment.”
However, the ECB is hopeful that the Hundred will attract a lot of people and will be helpful for cricket’s long-term future as well. But critics have raised some questions on the need for a fourth format in between a tight schedule of men’s featuring first-class, one-day and Twenty20 matches. The inaugural edition of the Hundred will be played from July 17 to August 15.
However, England women’s team has been doing pretty well in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup. Heather Knight led side were thrashed by South Africa in the opening game for the very first time in the World Cup. But after that, they bounced back brilliantly and registered convincing wins as well. Keeping their present form in mind, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have all the caliber to register another upset over India in the semi-final and reach the final as well.