I don’t have Sky, so didn’t watch the Hundred Draft live but seeing subsequent clips of it, it confirmed to me and I’m sure many others, that it is set to be as shallow, brittle, gaudy and soul-destroying a version of the game as we suspected it would.
It will reduce the game to little more than cricketing hardcore porn. There is no back story, no plot, no characterisation. It is cricket reduced down to a priapic rush towards climax. Unromantically, you get it up, get it in and get it over with. The Hundred isn’t about love, that’s for sure.
In the same way when food manufacturers add ‘flavour’ to the description of some contrived product it is a legal get-around so that a strawberry-flavour milkshake doesn’t have to have any actual strawberries in but one called a strawberry milkshake does, The Hundred is cricket-flavoured, but contains no actual cricket.
It will stand alone. It is not part of the cricket family any more than a homemade sex tape is part of the movie industry.And just like pornography, over exposure to it has the potential to destroy taking pleasure in the real thing, as you become jaded with regular cricket and seek ever more exotic excitement.
If people become addicted to the simple thrill of The Hundred, which seems to be going to have a kind of premature sporting ejaculation as its main driver, will any other form of cricket seem quite so satisfying again? Will it leave other white-ball versions looking flaccid? The romance of wining and dining a lover will be abandoned in favour of merely screwing on the table.
Because the Hundred is hardcore cricket porn, with all romance and foreplay abandoned in pursuit of the money shot, we must question whether the soft core version played over 50 overs will be severely lacking in instant thrills. 20/20 might begin to look like pointlessly delayed gratification after what has been called the ‘all f**king and no fingering” of The Hundred.
The shallow vulgarity of it is anathema to me both culturally and sportingly. It also annoys that they have scheduled it consciously to fit into what they call the school holidays from mid-July to early September, when these are not the summer holidays for kids in Scotland who break up in late June and go back in mid-August. Not for the first time, nor the last, England has totally ignored Scotland and shown ignorance of life beyond its own borders.
Its scorched earth policy will horrify traditionalists but perhaps will attract those who do not currently really like cricket and find sides being called ‘Superchargers’ ‘Rockets’ or ‘Spirit’ actually exciting and not merely childish. Well, fair enough. Who am I to tell anyone where and when and how they should find their pleasure? But let’s not pretend this is going to increase the popularity of the game in other formats. Rather, I suspect it may kill off interest in other white-ball versions and the rest of us, whose synapses are not addicted to the endorphin rush of this newest porn star, will continue to enjoy the longer formats, untainted by The Hundred’s back alley knee trembler approach to a once noble, cultured sport.
The ECB would do well to remember that cheap sex is all well and good, but it is love which sustains.
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