ECB chief executive rules out scrapping The Hundred

Tom Harrison says the impact of the coronavirus "absolutely accelerates" the need for The Hundred as cricket remains suspended in England until July 1.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison revealed that Australia and New Zealand have offered to stage The Hundred.   -  Getty Images

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison says The Hundred will be "even more important" for the future of English cricket due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

It has been reported that the new competition could be scrapped less than three months before the inaugural tournament is due to start.

The ECB on Friday announced there will be no professional cricket in England or Wales until at least July 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

International stars are due to fly in for from various parts of the world for The Hundred, which is scheduled to get under way on July 17.

While there is uncertainty over whether the competition will take place this year, Harrison says it must not be discarded.

"If anything this crisis and the implication long term or medium term, the case for The Hundred is even more important," he told the BBC.

"The Hundred is a profit centre for the game of cricket in this country, it will generate really important commercial value for the game, and help us achieve the second of our three priorities which is keeping the lights on through the network – making sure county cricket is really healthy and strong long into the future.

"And it will help broaden the audience for the game. There will be a huge clamour for audience coming out of this crisis, for all sport.

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"I don't think this in any way dilutes the case for The Hundred, it absolutely accelerates it and makes it something cricket needs to get behind.

"We were starting from a position of strength – 180,000 tickets were sold – the quickest sale of cricket other than World Cup cricket that we've seen, so we've got to put the context of the last couple of years into a very different light.

"They are all decisions we will make but I am absolutely committed, as I think the game is, the first-class counties, they understand the importance of this competition to the future of the game and how it will help us achieve stability for everything the game has cared about for hundreds of years – that's super important to us."

Harrison also revealed there have been "multiple offers" from other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, to help finish the domestic season.

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