Joe Root has insisted that the introduction of the Hundred will help England in their bid to retain the World Cup in 2023.
Some have suggested that the new competition will reduce England’s competitiveness in ODI cricket as their leading white-ball players will no longer be available for the domestic 50-over tournament, which is scheduled at the same time as the Hundred.
But Root feels the benefits of exposing young English players to some of the best overseas players in the world will outweigh any such issues.
“By playing the Hundred, you’re exposing our next generation of players to play against some of the best players in the world,” Root told ESPNcricinfo. “Regardless of the format that will be more influential and have more of an impact.
“Look at the guys in the current white-ball team who have gone off to play in the IPL: they’ve come back better players for it. I feel the Hundred will have a similar impact on more English players. Not just the top end guys, but on the next group of players that are on the fringe of the international teams. And, on the back of it, they’ll have more opportunity to play elsewhere, too.
“Of course it’s important we look after our 50-over cricket and, long-term, don’t let it slide off a cliff. But I don’t think playing the Hundred will dilute our chances of winning the next World Cup.”
Root also refutes the suggestion that the Hundred poses a threat to England’s Test aspirations. While the window created for the competition means the Championship will be played disproportionately in the margins of the summer – a scenario which all too often leads to conditions providing copious assistance to the sort of seam bowlers who find little encouragement on the better surfaces generally encountered in Test cricket – England’s Test captain feels the county groundsmen simply have to do a better job of creating high quality surfaces. County groundsmen, recovering from the longest season in history, could be forgiven for shaking their heads ruefully and wondering how they can be expected to produce good batting surfaces in the drizzle of early April.
“The key is making sure the wickets for Championship cricket are good,” Root said. “Some of the wickets have not been good enough this season. We have to make sure we’re producing wickets that allow guys to get in and make big scores.
“You want the next group of batters to know what’s it’s like to score big hundreds; to deal with scoreboard pressure; to bat for two days to stay in a game and earn a dull draw. And you also have to find a way to take wickets – to take 20 wickets – on flat ones.
“I’d like to see wickets improve. And that ultimately comes down to the counties. I know they’re under huge pressure to win but, from a purely selfish point of view, I think it would be really good for English cricket if we saw better wickets next season.”