The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) once had Twenty20 vision to realise the potential for a new, shorter format to be added to the county structure.

What was set up as a method to attract a younger audience has become a global success worth millions, with T20 competitions springing up around the world - and not just traditional cricket-playing nations, either.

However, the ECB has decided the time is right to embrace change again. In 2020, the English game will see The Hundred come into existence.

Here, we attempt to answer some key questions about the tournament, including the teams involved, the players who are primed to play in it and where the games will take place.


The Hundred - what exactly is it?

A new concept for cricket in England that involves eight teams. A game will have two innings of 100 deliveries each (the clue is in the name).

There will be a change of end after 10 balls, rather than the usual six. Bowlers can send down five or 10 consecutive balls, while they are limited to 20 in the match. As for the powerplay, that will span 25 deliveries and a maximum of two fielders will be allowed outside the inner circle during that period of play.

It's cricket - just not as we know it.


And when will this take place?

From July 17 to August 16. The schedule – which runs during the school holidays in England – will see the teams play each other once, while each side will take on a 'rival' opponent both home and away, taking the total number of group games for each up to eight.

The top three in the table will then progress through to finals day, where second will play third in a semi-final to decide who will face the top seeds for the title.


What about the names and locations of the teams?

Well, the identities will be announced on Thursday at the initial draft. However, we do at least know the locations.

The 18 first-class counties have been grouped together in catchment areas based around international venues, two of which are situated in London. The full list is as follows (in alphabetical order):

- Birmingham (Warwickshire and Worcestershire - to play at Edgbaston)
- Cardiff (Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Somerset - to play at Sophia Gardens)
- Leeds (Yorkshire and Durham - to play at Headingley)
- London (Middlesex, Essex, and Northamptonshire - to play at Lord's)
- London (Surrey and Kent - to plat at The Oval)
- Manchester (Lancashire - to play at Old Trafford)
- Nottingham (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire - to play at Trent Bridge)
- Southampton (Hampshire and Sussex - to play at the Rose Bowl)


Will England players be appearing in it?

Absolutely! That includes their Test players too, albeit only for a limited stretch due to a home series against Pakistan, which starts on July 30.

The 10 individuals who were handed red-ball contracts for the 2019-20 season are not guaranteed to play for their 'home' teams, however.  Each roster will have at least one Test representative, with the chance to choose from the options available from their counties. However, Cardiff and the London franchise based at Lord's have no red-ball options tied to them.

Those with multiple options will have to make a choice on Thursday at the initial draft.

For example, if Leeds opt for all-rounder Ben Stokes (and why wouldn't they?), it means Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root could end up elsewhere, though if they are not chosen by another team, they will automatically be added to their original team's roster.

As well as Test stars, the teams will have the opportunity to announce two 'icon' players from their catchment, which will also be revealed on Thursday.

This is likely to be when some of the England squad who won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier this year will find out whether they will be staying close to home. However, there also could be some lesser-known names - at least globally - rewarded for their T20 performances at county level.


How many players on each team, and what about international signings?

There will be 15-man rosters for the teams to work with, which will be filled out during a further player draft on October 20.

Organisers has revealed some of the registered players already, with the list including World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and England team-mate Moeen Ali.

Australia duo Steve Smith and David Warner will also be involved, along with Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Oh, and the evergreen Chris Gayle, of course. It would not be a white-ball event without the 'Universe Boss'...

Do not, however, get excited about the prospect of seeing Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma playing. India's current internationals are not set to be involved.


So how does the second player draft work, then?

A draw will decide the order for what will be a snake draft later in the month, meaning positions will be reversed in alternate rounds. Therefore, if you are up first in round one, you will be last second time around.

Each team must pick two players from seven set salary bands, which range from £30,000 to £125,000. Captains, by the way, get a £10,000 bonus.

Players have chosen their own reserve price, meaning they may pitch themselves out of the draft. Still, the biggest names will expect to earn the big money.

A team can pick three overseas recruits and, just prior to the tournament, will complete their 15-man line-ups by adding a wildcard - most likely an individual who impressed in the domestic T20 Blast earlier in the same season.

Moeen Ali has requested a break from Test cricket after being dropped from the England team and losing his all-format central contract.

The all-rounder had been contracted by England for all formats since 2014-15 but it was confirmed on Friday he had only received a white-ball deal for 2019-20.

Th news came after Moeen was left out of the squad for the second Ashes Test in August, having taken 3-172 and scored four with the bat across both innings of a humbling opening defeat to Australia.

It was revealed at the time Moeen would look to spend some time "recharging" before making his county return for Worcestershire.

But having starred in guiding reigning T20 Blast champions Worcestershire to a second successive Finals Day, he plans to prolong his Test absence.

"It's just to get away from it a little bit. I feel like I want to enjoy my batting and this will give me a bit of a break," Moeen told ESPNcricinfo.

"I want to spend some time with the family. I've been playing for England for five years and it's been quite tough.

"The intensity is obviously higher in Test cricket so this is just to give me a break and then we will see what happens after that.

"I'm not ruling out playing Test cricket in the future. I've had long chats and thought about it quite a lot. I just want to give myself a bit of time to refresh my batteries and see where it goes after that."

England captain Joe Root stated in August that the first Ashes Test was "certainly not the last we'll see of [Moeen]".

Moeen has taken 181 wickets across 60 Tests, but Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's cricket, has no issue with his period of indefinite leave.

"For all the guys, not just Moeen, it's been a really challenging summer," Giles said.

"A World Cup and an Ashes back-to-back has had a massive effect on many of these guys psychologically, as much as physically.

"Some of those guys are still carrying [these issues] - one of them being Moeen.

"His experience in the first Test wasn't a great one, but that's cricket. He's has been a great servant for his team. That's why I encouraged him to leave that option open to come back.

"He might just need to go away and freshen up. But he's been a really good servant for this team and he's still relatively young."

Moeen Ali was left out of the England squad for the second Ashes Test against Australia and is now "recharging" rather than immediately returning to action with Worcestershire.

However, captain Joe Root insists the all-rounder will be back in an England shirt soon enough.

Moeen endured a tough start to the Ashes series as he took three wickets for 172 runs while scoring just four with the bat in a 251-run England defeat at Edgbaston.

And just as at the Cricket World Cup, where Moeen missed the final four matches – all wins – in England's triumph, he has been dropped from the team.

Rather than return to play for his county, though, Worcestershire confirmed on Tuesday that Moeen will first take some time out.

The county side's coach Alex Gidman said: "Mo is spending a little time away from the middle, recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time, which he feels he needs and we completely respect.

"He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.

"Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us.

"We saw at Trent Bridge [in the Vitality Blast win over Notts Outlaws last month] what he gives to us and we look forward to when he returns soon."

England skipper Root added in a news conference: "I spent a good while chatting to Mo, making sure he understood where we're at in terms of getting him back to his best.

"[England want him to] go and play some county cricket and performing well for Worcester, as he proved last time around, coming into the India series and having a massive influence on it.

"There's no reason why he can't do the same again and force his way back into the squad. He's been a big part of English cricket. He's done some fantastic things in a Test shirt and it's certainly not the last we'll see of him.

"He's a fine cricketer, he's a great man and he gives so much to this team. I'm sure it won't be long before you see him back involved."

Moeen Ali has been dropped by England ahead of the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord's, with Jack Leach and Jofra Archer coming in.

England slumped to a 251-run defeat at Edgbaston, with spinner Moeen proving expensive with the ball – taking three wickets for 172 runs – while scoring just four with the bat.

Somerset's Leach – who scored 92 as nightwatchman in a warm-up Test against Ireland – has been drafted into the 12-man squad as Moeen's replacement.

Meanwhile, paceman Archer, who proved he had recovered from a side strain with a superb performance in a Sussex second XI match this week, is set to make his Test debut having replaced James Anderson, who has been ruled out with a calf injury.

Olly Stone has also missed out, with the Warwickshire bowler struggling with a back problem.

Joe Root's side made a strong start to the first Test, but supreme batting from Steve Smith (144 and 142) in both innings helped Australia claim a resounding victory.

England team to face Australia in the second Ashes Test:

Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

England's Ashes preparations quickly hit the rocks as they were incredibly all out for 85 against Ireland in a humiliating start to this week's Test.

Three Cricket World Cup heroes went for ducks, Jason Roy made just five on debut and captain Joe Root added only two as the stunned hosts failed to make it to lunch at Lord's.

Tim Murtagh took figures of 5-13, earning his place on the honours board, as Ireland made hay in their first Test at the home of cricket.

The remarkable scenes should offer serious encouragement to Australia, themselves and Australia A meanwhile struggling with the bat in Southampton.

England looked to have recovered from Roy's shaky start that saw him edge to Paul Stirling in the slips, but Joe Denly, top-scoring on 23, went lbw to Mark Adair (3-32) to spark an astonishing collapse.

Rory Burns was caught behind for six and Adair got Root lbw before a remarkable run of ducks for England's ODI stars.

Jonny Bairstow was superb in the World Cup but his stumps were destroyed by Murtagh, who trapped Chris Woakes lbw - the review going with the umpire's decision - two balls later in a stunning two-wicket maiden.

Moeen Ali was caught behind and suddenly England were forced to work hard to avoid their record-low Test score (45 against Australia in 1887), doing so with boundaries met with sarcastic cheers.

The home side's fortunes did not improve, though, as Boyd Rankin (2-5) got a nick from Stuart Broad, before Sam Curran sent the same man to James McCollum at short leg.

Olly Stone, another debutant, got to 19 before Adair skittled him and England's innings was cut embarrassingly short just before the end of the session.

"I'm not quite sure what's happened over the past two hours, to be honest," Murtagh told Sky Sports.

Cricket World Cup final match-winner Jos Buttler hopes England's triumph will provide a major boost before the Test team's Ashes series.

Buttler was central to the hosts' World Cup success, putting on a fifth-wicket stand of 110 with Ben Stokes as they chased New Zealand's total, before starring again alongside the same man in the Super Over.

The wicketkeeper then ran out Martin Guptill following Jason Roy's throw to dramatically seal victory at Lord's, sparking incredible celebrations.

And as the festivities continued on Monday, Buttler conceded there had been little time to consider the Ashes against Australia - starting on August 1 - but hoped to build on the World Cup win.

"It's fantastic. It sounds ridiculous, but I don't think many people have been thinking about the Ashes yet," he told Sky Sports.

"I think we'll enjoy some time to let this sink in. But as summers go, this is a great start we can take into the Ashes and enjoy the momentum."

Moeen Ali also believes the trophy can act as a motivating factor, hoping Test skipper Joe Root will have been given a lift.

"I've loved every second of it, so I'm going to take it all in," Moeen added.

"We know the Ashes is around the corner and, in the back of your mind, it's always been there. But the World Cup has never been done before and this was the one thing we all wanted.

"Hopefully we can get even more support than we've ever had in the Ashes at home, which will spur us on.

"That momentum, that drive, I'm sure Rooty will take a lot from this as well. It's going to be an amazing series."

Mushtaq Ahmed believes England spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are ready to be match winners for the Cricket World Cup hosts.

Neither man has been at his most effective in the tournament to date, Rashid claiming seven wickets and Ali five.

But former Pakistan spinner Mushtaq, who worked with the pair as part of England's backroom staff in the past and now enjoys a role with West Indies, admires their qualities.

"They're good cricketers. They're match winners, Moeen and Adil," Mushtaq told Omnisport.

"Since they've been playing for England in one-day cricket and also Test cricket, Moeen Ali has gotten lots of wickets, and Adil also.

"Since they've been playing together, I can see England become a number one team, because in the middle overs they get lots of wickets, and they control the game in the middle overs, so I think they're both playing a huge role for England."

Mushtaq, who had spells in county cricket with Somerset, Surrey and Sussex, played 144 ODIs and 52 Tests for Pakistan in an international career that ran from 1990 to 2003.

He was frustrated by West Indies failing to produce at the World Cup, where they have won just once in eight matches and finish off against Afghanistan on Thursday at Headingley.

"I think we just didn't catch that moment where you close the game," said Mushtaq, speaking at the Pakistan Cricket Legends Tour in association with Penny Appeal.

"You know, we could actually win a few of the games like against New Zealand and against Australia. The things that were actually supposed to be winning situations we actually lost that period, lost those key points.

"So I think with the West Indies, obviously there were a few new guys in, there's plenty of things we have to discuss about that. When they played that first game against Pakistan, they seemed like they could be one of the four teams who are going to qualify for the semi-final.

"But obviously there's plenty of things to improve. They've got plenty of talent, but you've got to close that moment where you are actually nearly winning the game. So, we missed that opportunity."

Mushtaq also dismissed suggestions, raised by former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar this week, that Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is "fat" and "unfit".

"We should respect our players," said Mushtaq, on being presented with those claims. "They're giving everything for our country, they're trying to win cricket matches for Pakistan, so sometimes they lose, sometimes they win.

"I say that as an ex-cricketer, also part of Pakistan. Please respect your cricketers, they're trying to entertain you, they're trying to win games for Pakistan. If they don't, keep supporting your Pakistani heroes. They're the people who actually go and express themselves and they sacrifice a lot for Pakistan."

Virat Kohli's fifth Indian Premier League century helped Royal Challengers Bangalore record a much-needed 10-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders, despite the best efforts of the in-form Andre Russell.

Captain Kohli led from the front, making an even 100, while Moeen Ali contributed 66 in a hurry as the Royal Challengers posted a formidable score of 213-4 at Eden Gardens.

Kolkata appeared set to fall well short in reply, labouring to 60-3 at the halfway stage following two early wickets for returning paceman Dale Steyn.

However, not for the first time this season, Russell produced an onslaught at the back-end of an innings to suddenly put the game back in the balance.

The West Indian all-rounder hammered nine sixes as he and Nitish Rana (85 not out) put Bangalore on the back foot, getting what seemed a nigh-on impossible equation down to 24 required from the final over.

Russell kept his side's hopes alive by hitting Moeen for six down the ground, leaving the equation at 17 off three, but a dot ball by the England spinner curtailed the Knight Riders' late charge.

The following delivery saw Russell run out for 65 and while Rana finished the game with another six, Bangalore had just about held their nerve under pressure. The victory is just their second of the campaign, though they remain bottom of the table.

 

KOHLI TIMES IT JUST RIGHT

With AB de Villiers not in the starting XI, the pressure on Kohli was even greater to perform for his struggling franchise.

The right-hander needed 40 balls to reach 50 but exploded into life after such a patient start, needing just a further 18 deliveries to make it through to three figures. He reached the milestone in glorious fashion, sending a cover drive to the fence for his ninth four.

Kohli had also smashed four sixes before he was caught off the final ball of the innings having put on 64 with Marcus Stoinis, who ended up unbeaten on 17.

Moeen had earlier dominated a 90-run stand for the third wicket, the England international belting six sixes. 

 

STEYN RUINS KOLKATA CHASE

In need of a boost to their bowling attack, Bangalore turned to Steyn. The South African bowler had last played for the team in the IPL nine years ago, yet he showed what they had been missing with an early burst to put the home team on the back foot.

He dismissed Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill in the powerplay, while the Knight Riders were further hampered by Robin Uthappa eating up 20 deliveries to make just nine runs.

Too many early dot balls came back to haunt them at the death as well, with Russell and Rana running out of time.

Still, Russell has now amassed 377 runs in the tournament this year, despite facing just 171 balls. His tally of 39 sixes tops the charts, as he sits 13 clear of fellow West Indian Chris Gayle.

Sam Curran will join his brother Tom in the England Twenty20 squad to face West Indies after being named as a replacement for Moeen Ali.

Moeen was initially selected in the party to take on the Windies, but the all-rounder will leave the tour at the end of the ODI series.

Curran, uncapped in the shortest format, comes in after he was overlooked for the ODIs.

The all-rounder played in two of the three Tests in the series defeat in the Caribbean and has made two ODI appearances.

England and West Indies are level at 1-1 in the ODI series after the third match in Grenada was washed out without a ball being bowled on Monday.

The fourth match of the series takes place at the same venue on Wednesday. The first of three T20s will be held in St Lucia on March 5.

Veteran opener, Christopher Henry Gayle, now has 24 centuries under his belt after smashing 135 off 128 deliveries to lead the Windies to 360 for 8 in the first One Day International of series against England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. 

When Kemar Roach launched into a delivery from James Anderson only to find a tall Ben Stokes at second slip latching onto a flier, the crowd at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium stood and applauded. 

West Indies' pacemen took advantage of a lively surface in Antigua to dismiss England for 187 on the opening day of the second Test, before reaching 30 without loss in reply. 

Kemar Roach (4-30) and Shannon Gabriel (3-45) were the chief destroyers as the tourists, who were skittled for 77 in Barbados en route to a thumping first-Test defeat, again endured a tough time of things with the bat. 

Seven of England's 11 batsmen failed to make double figures and they were grateful to Jonny Bairstow (52), Moeen Ali (60) and Ben Foakes (35) for their roles in a recovery of sorts from 34-3 and 93-6. 

Given the amount of variable bounce and seam movement in evidence on day one, Joe Root's men may feel they have enough runs to be competitive, but Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell enhanced the Windies' position with a gutsy and patient opening stand. 

England's first-wicket pair were parted inside five overs after the hosts elected to bowl, Roach squaring up Rory Burns (4) with a beauty that induced an edge to Jason Holder at second slip. 

Joe Denly, making his Test debut at 32, failed to convince and made just six before departing in abysmal fashion, swishing wildly to feather an edge behind from Alzarri Joseph's first ball, a dreadful loosener well outside off stump. 

Root then fell to a brute of a delivery that epitomised the unpredictability of the playing surface, as a full ball from Joseph reared up alarmingly to take the glove and loop to the slip cordon, where a leaping Campbell parried it upwards to allow Shai Hope to complete the catch. 

The promoted Jos Buttler did not last long before becoming Holder's first scalp, but Bairstow counter-attacked superbly, bringing up a thrilling half-century before lunch. 

When Bairstow and Ben Stokes were ousted by Roach and a fired-up Gabriel respectively early in the afternoon, England were in disarray, but Moeen and Foakes brought some much-needed stability in a stand of 85.

However, Moeen was caught at mid-on early in the evening session when a Roach delivery appeared to get stuck in the pitch and West Indies brought a swift end to the innings thereafter, with Foakes playing on to Gabriel via glove and hip before Sam Curran and James Anderson followed in quick succession.

Wicketkeeper Foakes was absent when England took the field, bruising on his right hand pressing Bairstow into action behind the stumps.

There was still plenty of movement on offer as the Windies began their reply, but Brathwaite and Campbell - who finished up unbeaten on 11 and 16 respectively - dug in to survive 21 overs, registering a solitary boundary between them.

Campbell did get away with one moment of madness when he attempted an over-ambitious scoop off the recalled Stuart Broad and succeeded only in diverting the ball into his own neck, while England spurned a review for lbw as Curran was shown to have overstepped.

Moeen Ali is ready to accept the responsibility of being England's leading spinner in Test cricket ahead of the series against West Indies, as the tourists consider their bowling options for the first game in Barbados.

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