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22 Aug 2020 | 12:06 PM
India have been regularly talking to me about Hundred: ECB outgoing chief Graves
The new 100-ball tournament will begin in 2021, a year later than originally planned, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

If the words of Colin Graves are any indication, then the Hundred may have caught the BCCI's fancy, with the England and Wales Cricket Board's outgoing chairman claiming his Indian counterparts have been "regularly asking me" about the tournament.

The ECB's brainchild, the Hundred is a necessary tool to increase cricket's reach and appeal, according to Graves.

The new 100-ball tournament will begin in 2021, a year later than originally planned, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I know that some of the countries abroad, India in particular, are looking at their own," Graves told Sky Sports.

"They have been talking to me about it for the last year on a regular basis. So around the world, it has created a lot of excitement."

However, even if the BCCI eventually decides to organise a tournament modelled on the Hundred, it will not be able to do so before 2023. In an FTP (Future Tour Programme) cycle badly affected by the pandemic, there is no window for such an experiment for the next couple of years.

The next FTP cycle will run from 2023 to 2028.

The BCCI has in the past explored possibilities to introduce a mini-IPL but could not do so due to a crowded calendar.

Getting the tournament up and running has been one of the top priorities for Graves, who is now eyeing the post of ICC chairman.

He called it the "biggest challenge" of his five-year tenure.

"I think the biggest challenge was getting The Hundred off the ground. We had all the pushback initially but I think people are now starting to see the advantages of it.

"I think it is the right thing to be doing and will be a valuable asset to the ECB going forward, both from a profit perspective and playing point of view.

"I think people, certainly in cricket, don't like change. I don't think they realised we are trying to attract a new audience - women, children and families, which we never really had come to cricket."

The ECB signed a 1.2billion pound broadcast deal with Sky Sports and the BBC in 2017, which runs between 2020 and 2024 and includes live cricket returning to the BBC for the first time in 21 years.

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