The Hundred: It's not for me, it might not be for you.. and that's a good thing!
It’s big, it’s daring and it’s garish. It’s everything cricket, for many people, shouldn’t be.
Having grown up watching and playing the game, the first couple of evenings watching The Hundred was an odd experience; like watching your favourite childhood Disney film re-imagined with lasers and flashing lights and a concert from a young popstar you’ve never heard of shoehorned into the middle for a reason you can’t quite fathom.
What’s left is a bastardised film of bits and pieces, something really, really loud with some of the world’s biggest stars. It’s not classic film noir, it won’t win anything at Cannes, but it gets bums on seats. If test cricket is Citizen Kane, The Hundred is Fast & Furious 118 or whatever number they’re up to now.
That’s not to patronise anyone who likes films about fast cars, but the fact is that there are more of them. And maybe, feasting on a steady and carefully planned-out diet of Hollywood blockbusters, a few might just go to the cinema for the other genres every now and then.
As will have been the case with many cricket fans, I’ve shared texts and chats with all sorts of people that have never been bothered for cricket, saying they’ve enjoyed the bright lights and simplicity of it all.
Those of us who have grown up with the game are already squinting at the format trying to make up our minds. Those who haven’t are opening their eyes to the best game on the planet, largely hoping Jos Buttler smashes one into the stands.
And it is the latter lot that are, on the whole, the only group that matters.
I wonder if those cricket fans turning their noses up to the format have led the volunteering front at a grassroots club that has seen numbers dwindle into the ether over the last 10 years. ECB figures suggest that since 2016, 70,000 players have been lost from the country’s village greens and junior training nights.
It’s not for me, it might not be for you. But that’s a good thing. The Hundred is cricket’s Fast & Furious movie, drawing folk into the cinema that might otherwise not have ever considered it.
Grab some popcorn or don’t. After all, the test match is on the other screen.