Hundred to expand to 10 teams to attract Indian and US investors: UK based Report

Hundred to expand to 10 teams to attract Indian and US investors: UK based Report

London, Nov 22 (PTI) 'The Hundred', the lucrative short-form cricket league run by the England and Wales Cricket board (ECB), might be expanded to 10 teams in a bid to attract investors from India and US, according to a leading British newspaper.

According to a report in 'The Telegraph', ECB will continue to hold meetings with counties to discuss the road ahead with 'a further two teams to be added to the Hundred in the coming years.' 'It is understood the buyers from India and the US are already showing interest in the current eight teams,' the report stated.

The league which was launched two years ago hasn't been able to establish itself overseas and there have been reports of Indian Premier League franchises showing interest in taking a stake in buying Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The report said that the expansion to 10 teams would happen in the next five years and 'the likeliest locations are the south-west, in Bristol and Taunton, and the north-east, at Durham'.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint had offered 300 million pounds for a 75 per cent share of the whole competition last year on the basis that the competition remains a closed league without promotion and relegation, which was rejected by ECB.

However, under chief executive Richard Gould and chair Richard Thompson, ECB opened discussions with the counties this year, offering five options to counties after the season ended.

'The options ranged from status quo to a total overhaul of the tournament through the 'open pyramid', which would have involved a promotion and relegation structure involving all 18 counties and possibly the national (formely minor) counties below that too,' the report said.

'Feedback from the meetings this week and next will be taken to the ECB's main board before being put to a vote among the counties. The ambitious intention would be for the new model to be in place for the 2025 season when the new broadcast deal with Sky, which was agreed under Gould's predecessor Tom Harrison, kicks in.' Top Indian women cricketers including skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh played at the 'Hundred' this year but no male cricketer has featured in the event so far due to restrctions imposed by the BCCI on active players taking part in any other league save IPL. PTI ATK KHS KHS

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