Source: Tom Shaw for the ECB

Thoughts on The Hundred – Part One Identity

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The Hundred offers us the third set of franchises in two years

We have had to adjust to the six teams of the KSL (2016-19), then after the break to recover from the pandemic the eight new squads for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy and the Charlotte Edwards Cup; now the eight for The Hundred.

For anyone who takes a closer interest in women’s cricket than Kevin Pietersen (’That’s bad bowling; that’s really bad bowling’) it is tricky to keep up with who is playing for whom.

Quarantine regulations and the piling up of important tournaments this year hindered the completion of squads, so places left vacant after every possible overseas player had been contacted meant English players were sent all over the country to learn a new accent. Sophie Munro, only 19-year-old, has played for Yorkshire Diamonds, Nottinghamshire and Lightning before being joining London Spirit at Lord’s. Phoebe Franklin, slightly less adventurous, finishes up in Birmingham after playing for Kent and South East Stars. Bryony Smith, the pride of Surrey and South East Stars, finds herself in Cardiff; Sophia Dunkley, formed in Middlesex then translated to Surrey and the Stars, now props up Southern Braves’ batting. Is Sarah Taylor learning Welsh?

It’s all very confusing.

The kits don’t help. You might expect the team playing in purple to be the Trent Rockets. After all they have their prime source in Loughborough. But no, they are the Northern Superchargers.

Nor do those franchise names help much. Once the tag names which are deemed essential in 21st century cricket are used on their own, it’s a real effort to remember which belongs to which (Fire v Spirit? Originals v Brave?). They had to be dreamed up by somebody, perhaps the lucky winner of a naming competition. It was tempting fate for the Oval team to became the Invincibles. Sure enough, they have lost a match so are no longer invincible.

The Hundred is aimed at people, especially the young, who are unfamiliar with the game and therefore unfamiliar with most of the players, if not all of them. So they are happy to support the home team and sport their colours. For the rest of us it’s not so easy.