It was the new tournament that cricket purists fretted would be the great disrupter of the sport: a 100-ball, quickfire format without “overs” but with jazzy uniforms, high scores and fireworks.
However, England’s The Hundred concept has been a success, with energetic crowds packing grounds from Old Trafford to Trent Bridge.
The players, too, have been enjoying the new tournament with its new tactics, its fast pace and family-filled crowds watching double-headers of the women’s and men’s games.
The women’s competition has attracted top-flight internationals headlined by India’s Shafali Verma, South Africa’s Laura Woolvardt and West Indian Stafanie Taylor.
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And it includes a handful of Australians who received late call-ups to the tournament after the top Aussie and New Zealand international players pulled out due to the pandemic.
Amanda-Jade Wellington was among them, filling the leg-spinning space when White Fern Amelia Kerr withdrew from the Southern Brave squad.
Wellington, 24, was offered a replacement-player contract by Brave coach Charlotte Edwards; the pair know each other well as Edwards is assistant coach of Wellington’s Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL.
Participating in The Hundred, meant up to eight weeks away from her fiance Tayler McKechnie and their menagerie of pets, which includes a sugar glider.
It meant daily Covid tests and the isolation of a cricket bubble, then the mandatory two weeks hotel quarantine on arrival back from London. But Wellington didn’t think twice.
“You always want to be the first one playing in the new format, you don’t know how it’s going to go,” she said.
“But I think this is such a fantastic add into the cricketing world, it’s been a massive success and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future.”
The format has new rules.
An over is now called a “five”, and you don’t switch ends until 10 balls have been bowled. Each bowler can send down only 20 balls (or four fives).
“As a spinner, it’s not tiring, but it’s more tactical,” Wellington said.