England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) outgoing chairman Colin Graves on Friday indicated that the BCCI had been in touch with him to discover more about the Hundred.
The inaugural edition of the Hundred tournament which was supposed to launch this year was postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Hundred, the ECB’s brainchild, was created as an eight-team 100-ball tournament, which Graves said is meant for a “new audience”. The ECB have faith that the Hundred has the ability to create “millions” in proceeds which in turn would be utilised to assistance the grassroots game in England.
Although the Hundred has polarised view, Graves claimed that it had formed a tinkle abroad and countries like India were inquisitive about it.
Graves told Sky Sports, on the first day of the final Test between England and Pakistan in Southampton that, “I know that some of the countries abroad, India in particular, are looking at their own. They have been talking to me about it for the last year on a regular basis. So, around the world, it has created a lot of excitement.”
The BCCI has not once remarked on the tournament and ESPNcricinfo acknowledged no response from BCCI president Sourav Ganguly when asked about it on Friday. Outside of two-sided cricket, the BCCI has earlier engrossed on exploring ways to expand the IPL, which has become a global tournament with its own window in the cricket calendar.
In the past, the BCCI has explored the likelihood of staging a mini-IPL, but a gradually crowded calendar has made that difficult.
In 2018, Indian skipper Virat Kohli told the Wisden Cricket Monthly he “cannot think of one more format” adding “I feel somewhere the commercial aspect is taking over the real quality of cricket and that hurts me.”
Talking on BBC’s Test Match Special on Friday, Manoj Badale, the majority owner at IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, said that the ECB should pursue getting Indian players to feature in the Hundred as a “priority”.
“For the Hundred to maximise its potential in this country participation from Indian players would have to be top of my list of things to try and achieve,” Badale said. “It might take some, but it is a huge strategic priority. If we can embrace India and get those Indian eyeballs, watching the tournament here in the UK it is fantastic for the game here.” He added.
Even though the Hundred is presently owned entirely by ECB, in the wake of the hit the economy has taken from the pandemic, there is an opportunity of the board revisiting the topic of the private venture. Venky Mysore, the CEO of Red Chillies Entertainment, and also the owner of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders is willing to invest in the tournament. He said he could look at “evaluating” the prospects of owning a stake in one of the teams in the Hundred. “[Private investment] would make the tournament much bigger,”