For women in particular, The Hundred is huge. Ahead of the first ball being bowled it has had its doubters and critics, but the benefits it could bring to the women’s game could be immeasurable, and it all begins today.
Globally, not just cricket but football and rugby, the women’s game is growing but it is great that in The Hundred the women's game is going to mirror the men's game. It is going to be shown on terrestrial TV and Sky, which is absolutely crucial for the women’s game attracting viewers, especially the younger generation. You want girls to pick up a cricket bat and want to play the sport, being excited, wearing the ktis, seeing these young female stars who are absolutely brilliant in their own right playing cricket.
For me, it is a great concept and the fact that the women’s game has joined with the men’s game is fantastic. My 11-year-old daughter plays, she is really excited about the game and is constantly badgering me to go and bowl at her, and her bowl at me, so I think it is great for her and many others like her.
I’ve shown her a few bits, I’ve shown her all the kits and she is quite partial to a bit of Welsh Fire which I’m not happy about as a northerner. Uncle Jonny Bairstow is her godfather so as soon as he was playing for Welsh Fire that was pretty much it. That’s not gone down too well with her dad but she will watch it and we are all going to watch it and tune in and see how it goes. I’m as excited as anyone else to see how this new concept will take off and I genuinely hope it does.
The way the fixtures have been planned could work brilliantly. With those back-to-back games, it is a day out. You can watch the women’s before and the men’s afterwards - they are mirroring each other which is great and I think when you are going to tune in, you could get a lot of people watching the women’s game beforehand who have never watched a women’s cricket match before. You’ll get a lot of positives on the back of that, so that seems awesome, but the women themselves have the chance to become superstars in this competition.
This fusion between men and women’s cricket this summer could even take off in the future in other sports. The Hundred could set the precedent, it will be the standard. The women are going to be in and around the men’s players, they are going to be practising alongside one another, seeing each other on a regular basis. Certainly the women’s game will improve from learning from the likes of Eoin Morgan and the T20 superstars and that can only expand and improve the women’s game.
These people are already looked up to, but this competition could elevate them to another level. The likes of Georgia Adams will have gone to the Oval and watched cricket with her parents, played cricket and now she is on the biggest stage in front of big crowds on terrestrial television. She has an opportunity to expand the game, as do all the girls, and they could be heroes now for the younger generation of girls wanting to watch the sport and play the sport.
That could inspire girls to take the game up at league level or even simply at their local cricket club, the more girls you have playing, the more opportunities there are going to be, the more money they will make - it has a huge knock on effect. Georgia would never have dreamed growing up thinking ‘I’m going to be playing in a competition that is on national television,’ but here she is, leading the way as one of these trailblazers.