• It's just not cricket: wickets to be renamed 'outs' for The Hundred
    The Telegraph

    It's just not cricket: wickets to be renamed 'outs' for The Hundred

    Get ready for "outs" instead of wickets when the new Hundred format launches in July. In an effort to make the sport more accessible to new supporters, English cricket chiefs are ready to overhaul some of the game's historic terminology. Telegraph Sport understands that one of the biggest changes will be that wickets will be described as "outs", while batsmen will be called batters in the men’s form of the game. The introduction of "outs" is likely to be the most controversial for traditionalists, many of whom are already sceptical about the introduction of the Hundred, which starts in 100 days time on July 21 when the women’s competition kicks off at the Oval. Scrapping the term "wickets" promises to completely overhaul the way in which scoring is described. It means a team could be described as having 75 runs off 32 balls for two outs instead of 75 for two wickets off 32 balls. A bowler can still be said to have taken a wicket but could be described as claiming 15 "outs" off 120 balls in the competition so far. It is one of a number of ideas being considered by the ECB and broadcasters and although nothing has been finalised. market research has revealed that one of the biggest barriers for new supporters is the complexity of cricket’s terminology. "Outs" is used in baseball but is also a cricket word so it is viewed as being acceptable as change. The ECB will not be inventing a new vocabulary for the competition but want to find the easiest and simplest way to describe this new format to people who may be encountering cricket for the first time. "Runs", "balls" and "outs" will be the currency of the competition and while no phrases will be banned, commentators will be encouraged to use the new terminology. Batsmen will be made gender neutral — the continuation of a trend which is already under way in the game — but other terms like third man could go the same way. The competition is intended to establish an identity which is distinct from other ECB tournaments. Organisers are understood to be treating its launch as a blank piece of paper to redraw cricket as we know it now. Scorecards will also have to be altered and updated to reflect a 100-ball competition. There will be a change of ends after 10 balls and bowlers can deliver either five or 10 balls consecutively. A countdown clock from 100 to zero balls has been suggested, too. The ideas have been extensively tested with focus groups and met with favourable responses, encouraging the ECB to be brave, bold and go for change, even though such moves are likely to infuriate the game's traditional domestic fanbase. A spokesperson for The Hundred said: “The Hundred is designed to make cricket accessible to everyone, and research shows that the language of the game can sometimes be a barrier. Along with our broadcast partners, we want the Hundred to open cricket up to more people, as well as entertaining existing fans, so we’re discussing the clearest ways of explaining the game, but nothing’s been finalised.” In a recent survey of almost 800 Telegraph readers, only one in four said they would attend a Hundred match, while seven of 18 county chief executives said they feared the competition would have a negative impact on county cricket. Sky Sports, one of the rights holders for the tournament, revealed on Monday that it had signed Andrew Flintoff to front their coverage of the competition. The broadcaster has also hired Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad to provide punditry alongside Sky regulars such as Nasser Hussain, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Rob Key, Ian Ward, David Lloyd, Nick Knight, Mike Atherton and Mark Butcher. Analysis: ECB in no mood to compromise over the Hundred By Nick Hoult By changing wickets to outs it shows there is no room for compromise when it comes to the Hundred. The competition has met with such hostility from the majority of the sport’s traditional core that the England & Wales Cricket Board has realised it may as well go for broke, rip up standard conventions and not worry too much about the fall-out. Social media reaction was overwhelmingly negative after Telegraph Sport revealed the ECB is considering changing wickets to outs and sources were keen on Monday to say the language of the game will not be changed completely. Square leg will be square leg, for example. But they believe the scoring mechanisms of cricket, and the terminology used, is one of the main barriers for new supporters to overcome and believe it needs an overhaul. Anyone who has played rounders will know the phrase ‘out’. It is clear and simple. Existing cricket fans may shudder at its association with baseball and it will confirm their view the Hundred is just not cricket. But for the ECB, Sky and the BBC, the parties with the greatest vested interest, it is just a small example of how they believe this tournament can refresh cricket and help it reach a fresh audience, bringing in new viewers which is what every broadcaster needs in a congested market.

  • England willing to boycott social media: Broad

    England willing to boycott social media: Broad

    England's Jofra Archer and Moeen Ali have been subjected to abuse on social media and Broad said he would be willing to take a stand against it. "There are great positives to social media but if we have to lose those positives for a period of time to make a stand then I'd be well up for that," he added.

  • Secrets of the IPL auction revealed: How Rajasthan Royals formed their 2021 squad
    The Telegraph

    Secrets of the IPL auction revealed: How Rajasthan Royals formed their 2021 squad

    In Talegaon, a small village near Nagpur, on February 2nd, around 40 Indian players arrived in the hope of securing the golden ticket: a place in the IPL. To prepare for this year’s auction, when they attempted to improve upon a side that finished bottom in 2020, Rajasthan Royals organised player trials for young Indian talent. On a custom-built facility that Rajasthan have owned since 2018, complete with indoor nets and a full-sized ground outside, the players had a chance to advance their claims to IPL selection. Rajasthan don’t think that the traditional way of judging players in the nets - watching over them for several hours - is particularly useful. Instead, players are trialled under match scenarios designed to test them under high pressure - bowling for 12 balls while defending a particular target, say - to try and replicate the demands of Twenty20. All the while they are watched by Zubin Bharucha, the franchise’s strategy, development and performance director. In Talegaon, players also undergo medical tests to ascertain their fitness, and the management observes players’ personalities to get a sense of how they could fit into the team environment. This year, Chetan Sakariya, a left-arm pace bowler who recently turned 23 but has never been involved in the IPL, was among those invited to Talegaon. Sakariya impressed Rajasthan’s coaches with his skills and temperament under pressure. The team management intended to reward him come auction day. Letting Steve Smith go In the 2020 IPL, Rajasthan fielded an enviable quartet of overseas players: the England trio Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, and Steve Smith, who captained the side. So why did all this talent only secure six wins from 14 games? In the Royals’ reviews after the tournament, in person and more often over Zoom, the team management - led by director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara, owner Manoj Badale, chief operating officer Jake McCrum and Bharucha - identified a very simple answer. Rajasthan’s bowling, even with Archer outstanding, wasn’t good enough. Studying the leading sides in the competition, including the finalists Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan came to the belief that their problem wasn’t the quality of their overseas players. Instead, it was the balance of their overseas players: the best IPL teams tend to have two overseas quick bowlers, because the supply of Indian quicks is relatively less impressive. “You look at all the teams that have been successful in the IPL and they generally have two overseas seamers. We had the gap in death bowling. That was probably the area we underperformed most,” McCrum explained. “Steve wouldn't bring that balance to the side when you've got Buttler and Stokes.” Around Christmas, Smith was told that he was being released. So were seven other players, including England’s Tom Curran. That left Rajashtan up to 38 crore left to spend on players, almost half the total salary cap of 85 crore (£8.75million) for each side.