Umpires will call “five” instead of “over” and the pre-match toss will take place on the stage alongside the DJs rather than the field of play when the Hundred starts at the Kia Oval next week.
The playing regulations for the competition have been finalised and will see the introduction of coloured cards for the first time. Umpires will hold up a white card to signify the end of the first valid five balls from one end. Ten balls will be bowled from each end and a captain is allowed to keep on a bowler to bowl all ten balls if he wants. There will be nine changes of ends with a 50-second break for broadcasters.
The white card will be used to make it clear there have been five legal balls bowled and no wides or no balls. The two-minute second strategic time out can only be called by the fielding side and will be signified by an umpire pointing at his or her wristwatch.
The laws of the game state the toss has to take place on the field of play but this will be overwritten by the playing regulations of the tournament, a common step in domestic competitions, and will be broadcast probably from the stage where DJs, signed up by BBC and the ECB, will perform.
In the event of a tied match in the group stage, teams will receive one point each; if it happens in the eliminator or final there will be a super five (instead of super over). If the first super five is tied, there will be a second. If the second super five is tied then the team with the highest league position will win.
The tournament will be gender neutral in terminology with ‘batter’ used instead of ‘batsman’. Telegraph Sport revealed in May hoe tournament organisers were considering replacing the word ‘wickets’ with ‘outs’. This met with a strong backlash and the idea has been watered down. Bowlers will still take wickets but batsmen will be referred to as out by commentators when talking about them being dismissed (so batsmen X will not be described as the third wicket to fall).
The decision-review system will be used for all matches – a first for domestic cricket in England – with a ‘smart replay system’ that will allow the third umpire to automatically call no balls. In the event of rain, 25 balls will have to be bowled to constitute a match with Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system in operation.
If Covid prevents matches being completed then a points-per-game ratio will be brought in. Covid remains the biggest fear for the organisers with thin squads and the difficulty of finding replacements at the last minute.
The tournament starts with the women’s Hundred on July 21 with the Oval Invincibles playing the Manchester Originals.