THE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed today that the launch of The Hundred will now take place in 2021.

It means those wanting to go to Headingley this summer to watch the Northern Superchargers field the likes of Ben Stokes and Aaron Finch will have to wait.

A number of reasons were outlined for the decision, including:

• Operational challenges caused by social distancing, alongside ongoing global travel restrictions, making the competition’s ambition to feature world-class players and coaches unattainable in 2020.

• A behind closed doors competition directly contradicts the competition’s goal to attract a broader audience through a unique event experience for viewers and spectators.

• With significant furloughing across the partnership network of 20 venues, the logistics of delivering a brand-new sporting event, without a tried-and-tested delivery plan, would be incredibly challenging.

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.

“As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred.

“Our survival as a game, long-term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket’s growing fan base.

“That need has not gone anyway, if anything, it is now more critical.

“The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all first-class counties and the MCC.

“Its role in driving participation, alongside supporting the development of the women’s game, will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.

“The Hundred is an important element of the game’s Inspiring Generations strategy, which has been debated and agreed upon across the whole game. While financially, our plans may be impacted, our ambition, ‘to inspire a generation’, should in no way be diluted.

“We would like to thank our broadcast partners for their extraordinary commitment and support to get The Hundred to this point and our commercial partners for their ongoing support. We very much look forward to working with them as we build to the 2021 launch.”