England cricket chief Tom Harrison says the controversial Hundred competition will help protect other formats of the game despite fears over its potential impact.
The Hundred, starting in 2020, is a new tournament consisting of eight city-based franchise sides, breaking away from the traditional county system.
Teams will bat for 100 balls each with overs, normally consisting of six deliveries, lasting for 10 balls with bowlers either bowling five or 10 balls consecutively.
The players’ draft was held at the weekend but opposition to the tournament remains.
#StopThe100 trended on Twitter while the draft was taking place and several people were asked to remove “Oppose the 100” T-shirts during an evidence session held by British lawmakers involving England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Harrison and other ECB officials.
“The 100 is a really good way of protecting everything that we are serious about,” Harrison said on Wednesday.
“It’s about protecting Test match cricket, it’s about protecting four-day Championship cricket, it’s about getting kids playing more cricket at school.
“This is engaging at a different level with a completely new community in this country and that is something we should embrace and celebrate.”
Harrison said the new tournament would try and recreate the atmosphere of the World Cup, which England won for the first time in July.
He added: “The Hundred is an attempt to replicate that and bring it back to our country every year without taking anything away from our precious county environment, to ensure we grow the game of cricket in this country. That is our job. =
“We have seen throughout the Cricket World Cup grounds across the country packed to the rafters, 40 percent of whom were first-time buyers to cricket in this country.
“The vibrancy, the colours, the noise and energy is something that will live with all of us.”