The Hundred has smashed cricket for six | Matt Mohan-Hickson

It seemed like a laughable idea when it was announced.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 11:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 11:19 am
Captain James Vince lifts the trophy as the Southern Brave are crowned champions after The Hundred final match between Birmingham Phoenix Men and Southern Brave Men at Lord's. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Did we really need yet another form of cricket? What was wrong with 20/20? It was fast-paced and exciting.

Could shortening it by 20 balls really make much difference?

Well dear reader, it turned out that once again I was wrong.

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I hadn’t paid much attention to the draft or the first few games of The Hundred, in fact I didn't even realise it had started at first.

Sure I saw the articles starting to crop up on the BBC Sport app about the ‘exciting’ games, but my head was not for turning.

Until I visited my parents’ and my dad had The Hundred on.

My first impression was not a positive one, with the graphics used to denote scores and the number of balls left, looking garish in a mixture of fluorescent green and pink combined with black.

But how does that old saying go? Oh yes, that’s it, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

And it turned out that once I focused on the actual cricket I was utterly spellbound.

The marketing loudly proclaims ‘Every. Ball. Counts’ – and, as it turns out, on the whole this wasn’t just some false promise or collection of hollow words by the public relations people.

Both the men’s games and the women’s matches have been tense and exciting affairs on the whole, often coming down to the last couple of balls.

I have been practically glued to the games every night and from the large crowds it seems I am not alone.

The changes – such as 10-ball overs, instead of the usual six – and the time limit the bowling teams have to complete the overs or risk having fewer fielders allowed out in the deep, make it far more fast-paced.

You barely have the time to catch your breath before it is over.

It is some of the most exciting cricket I have watched – and I hope it returns in 2022… if only so I can begin to execute my grand plan of converting my Spanish girlfriend to the church of cricket.

At least The Hundred is quick. Might have to build up to Test matches!

All those beloved match-day rituals came flooding back

I’ve done it – been to a football match again. I found the whole experience surreal.

Taking that familiar route, riding the train into Middlesbrough; emerging from the station; stopping for a couple of pints before pushing through the turnstiles at the Riverside; cheering as the announcer read out the Boro team and booing QPR’s. What’s live sport without a bit of pantomime?

I was worried I might have forgotten the songs, but they all came tumbling back.

Chanting along under the floodlights on a late August night, what bliss.

OK, not the result I hoped for, but just being with 20,000 other fans watching live sport again was more than worth it.

Being forced to listen to Talk Radio is driving me up the wall

My parents are big fans of Talk Radio. So while I have been back home for the last couple of weeks, I have found myself having to suffer it as background noise.

The hosts might change but the talking points remain the same: lockdown, bad – despite it having well and truly ended; climate change, real – but we can’t do anything.

Despite the claims of it being the ‘independent republic of Mike Graham’ his views seem to be just the same old regurgitated right-wing talking points. Doesn’t seem that independent to me.

It drives me up the wall and I find myself arguing with the radio, which is probably what they want – aside from people blindly nodding along and agreeing like good citizens of the independent republic.

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