COLIN GRAVES, the former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has claimed Indian Premier League owners would be willing to invest in The Hundred.
Due to start last year before COVID-19 postponement, the Hundred is a 100-ball white ball franchise tournament.
As per The Guardian, the ECB is reluctant to sell private equity but registered £105million in losses last year.
Explaining the issue, Graves said: “English cricket has got a bright future. There is fantastic talent coming from within the academies and the pathway. The problem which it’s always had is finance. You have 85% of the revenue reliant on one broadcaster and somewhere in the region of £190m-worth of debt in the game.”
“I didn’t create that, it has happened over the years. And it is massive for the size of the business, especially if broadcasting rights drop after the current five-year deal [worth £1.1bn]. Covid-19 hasn’t helped, the debts have grown and the pressure will only get bigger. All I would say is, ignore it at your peril.
“It can be all sorts of things. Private investment is an option. There is Indian interest. When I said that as chairman, people said it was a load of gobbledegook but it wasn’t at all. There are people in the IPL who are interested in the Hundred – that’s fact. I haven’t made it up, I haven’t dreamed about it.
“It could be shares, brand names, commercial partnerships – and if we could get Indian players in the Hundred that would be phenomenal. These are the things that need putting on the table and talking about. There’s a multitude of options, investors, IPL teams, the BCCI working with ECB. There’s no agenda, just an open discussion of what is and could be available. If people don’t want to take those opportunities, that’s up to them.”
Concerns about private investment centre around wage inflation and profits moving away from the grassroots.
The new format will see a change of ends after 10 balls, with bowlers having the option of delivering five or ten consecutive balls, but being limited to 20 balls in the entire innings.
Each bowling side can have a 150 second timeout with a 25 ball powerplay at beginning of each innings.
India captain Virat Kohli voiced opposition to the new format in 2018.
Mr Kohli told Wisden: “Obviously for the people involved in the whole process and the set-up it will be really exciting but I cannot think of one more format, to be honest.
“I’m already very, I wouldn’t say frustrated but sometimes it can get very demanding of you when you have to play so much cricket regularly. I feel somewhere the commercial aspect is taking over the real quality of cricket and that hurts me.
“I don’t want to be a testing sort of a cricketer for any new format. I don’t want to be someone who’s going to be part of that World XI who comes and launches the 100-ball format.
“I love playing the IPL, I love watching the BBL, because you’re working towards something, competing against high-quality sides and it gets your competitive juices flowing. That’s what you want as a cricketer. I’m all for the leagues but not to experiment.”