The Hundred clashes with MLC as ECB announce 2024 fixtures

January 23, 2024
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England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday revealed the schedule of The Hundred with The Oval hosting reigning champions Oval Invincibles and Birmingham Phoenix match on July 23.

London, Jan 23 (IANS) England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday revealed the schedule of The Hundred with The Oval hosting reigning champions Oval Invincibles and Birmingham Phoenix match on July 23.

However the league find itself in direct competition with the Major League Cricket (MLC) for the world’s leading men’s players in the summer of 2024. MLC is scheduled to start on July 4 and is expected to last till first week of August. The collision course was narrowly avoided in 2023, but this time, the two leagues will vie for attention and talent in late July, heightening the stakes and intensifying the battle for supremacy.

A clash with an England men’s international looms large, as the third Test against West Indies starts on July 26, rendering key players unavailable for at least the inaugural week of The Hundred.

This clash is not merely a scheduling conflict; it represents a tug of war for the world’s top cricketing talents. The ECB has expressed concerns about the launch of new lucrative franchise leagues during the northern hemisphere summer. Last year, centrally-contracted players were told they wouldn’t be granted No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for MLC.

Jason Roy, the sole Englishman to feature in MLC last summer, is expected to return to LA Knight Riders for the 2024 season.

The clash poses a significant challenge in terms of player availability, especially considering the reliance on a shared player pool. The inaugural MLC final took place just two days before The Hundred commenced, with 19 players, including Tim David, Heinrich Klaasen, and Sunil Narine, making appearances in both leagues. The ICC’s global limit of four overseas players per team in franchise leagues, a rule instituted after last year’s vote, is currently exceeded by MLC, although the cap only applies to new leagues.

Richard Thompson, the ECB’s chair, expressed his views on leagues that are “basically international tournaments masquerading as domestic competitions,” with a direct reference to MLC. Despite the clash, the Hundred is unlikely to overlap with the Caribbean Premier League in 2024, providing some relief in managing player availability and scheduling conflicts.

MLC, in its inaugural season, paid top earners around US$175,000 (£137,500) to play a minimum of five games, while the highest men’s salary in The Hundred is £125,000 (US$159,000) for a minimum of eight games. The ECB has frozen men’s Hundred salaries for the 2024 season, contemplating the possibility of opening the tournament to private investors from 2025.

–IANS

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