The Hundred: Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen say 100-ball competition will only get ‘bigger and better’ | Cricket News

Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen have backed The Hundred to get “bigger and better” in the coming years after the success of the inaugural competition this year.

The 100-ball tournament came to an end on Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd at Lord’s with Oval Invincibles taking the women’s crown and Southern Brave triumphing in the men’s competition.

Despite challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the start date being pushed back by a year, and some scepticism over the new format in the build-up, Warne and Pietersen believe the tournament has been a triumph.

“I think it has gone beyond expectations,” said London Spirit head coach Warne. “The cricket that has been on display, the skill on display from all the different teams at various times, has been outstanding.

“To see full houses everywhere you go, on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night in Birmingham, Manchester, London – it has been packed and the crowds have really got into it and I think it’s been fantastic! It’s only going to get bigger and better with every year.

“I think it is sensational to see how it really has captured the imagination.”

Former England star Pietersen played in a number of franchise competitions around the world and has not been surprised by how well the first such tournament in the UK has been supported by the public.

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Highlights from the Oval Invincibles’ victory over Southern Brave in the final of The Hundred at Lord’s.

“It’s so cool to see franchise cricket in the UK,” he said. “The one thing we know is that British public supports sport so well.

“No matter what it is, where it is; the Tour de France started in this country a few years ago and there were packed streets watching them. So you knew that the big sports, a summer sport like cricket was going to be supported.

“To see these scenes, to see franchise cricket here and to see it so well celebrated and supported – love it!

“My little lad, that’s the audience that you want, you want the kids coming in, and he’s absolutely buzzing! He’s got his Southern Brave jumper on and is running around here. The audience is in, the guys (players) have been brilliant, giving up their time.

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Highlights from the Southern Brave’s victory over Birmingham Phoenix in the final of The Hundred at Lord’s.

“What I also really enjoyed was commentating with some of the women who came into the box, the players, and how much they were loving the competition – and how much energy they were giving to the competition. I think it’s been absolutely fantastic.

“I think we’re coming back bigger and we’re coming back better next year.”

Warne also praised the tournament for the opportunities it provided for players to showcase their abilities to a larger audience.

Tuesday 24th August 6:00pm

“The women’s game before [the men’s game] had the opportunity to play in front of big crowds,” he added.

“Then the men, the skill that was on display from some of the players – we’ve just seen Liam Livingstone, ‘The Beast’! The T20 World Cup is just coming up, too, and he’s going to play a huge part.

“It was amazing. I thought Sky did great to get the viewer in, we saw helmet cam, we saw so many different things and different insights. It’s here to stay so all the doubters out there: have a look at what we just witnessed.”

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