Lancashire chairman resists notion of county rebrand for Hundred teams

Lancashire have voiced their give a boost to for the ECB’s proposals to introduce private investment in the Hundred from 2025, but pushed back against the concept teams in the competition might play under the banner of their host counties.

The Hundred’s future has been under review over the previous couple of months, with the ECB discussing quite a few potential changes to its governance constitution as a part of a consultation with the 18 first-class counties and MCC. The most essential question is if or not it must be opened up to private investors.

The tournament will continue for no less than five more seasons, since it forms a part of the ECB’s broadcast take care of Sky Sports, and its constitution will remain unchanged in 2024. But the ECB hope that the counties will reach a consensus in the early months of the English season and that changes can also be implemented for 2025.

Lancashire are unique in that they’re the only county affiliated with Manchester Originals, who play their home games at Emirates Old Trafford. All Hundred teams are owned by the ECB, but each and every of the other seven has no less than two affiliated counties who are represented on their boards.

Andy Anson, Lancashire’s chair, believes that the county must play a greater role in how the Originals are run. “Since I started as chair of Lancashire three years ago, I’ve felt it is in Lancashire Cricket’s best interest to have greater keep watch over of the Manchester Originals team,” he told LancsTV, the club’s in-house channels. “Ideally, with a controlling fairness interest.

“This would intent that we will be able to drive the team as a commercial entity and leverage the existing operations here at Emirates Old Trafford. I used to be also very concerned approximately the level of central costs at the ECB associated with the Hundred: they were too high, and we consider the operating mannequin used to be suboptimal.

“As reported, I will confirm that discussions have taken place between the entire first-class counties and the ECB regarding the transfer of a controlling interest in the Hundred teams to the host venues. As a board, we’re supportive of this… overall, we consider [the proposals] are positive for Lancashire and supply us with greater keep watch over and financial potential.”

Surrey’s new chair Oli Slipper has floated the potential for Oval Invincibles being renamed Surrey Invincibles and wearing the county’s three-feather crest, but Anson pushed back against the idea of an equivalent scenario at Lancashire. “We do see the Manchester Originals as a separate team from Lancashire, and in no way as a replacement for Lancashire in the different formats of cricket,” he said.

One proposal that has been discussed would entail a two-division Hundred with all 18 counties represented independently, which Anson made lucid his opposition to. “We would be very concerned that a two-tier Hundred would prevent Lancashire playing as the Red Rose in the month of August, and this is unacceptable to us,” he said.

“We do give a boost to the transfer of a controlling fairness stake in the Manchester Originals to Lancashire Cricket. We would not accept any expansion of the window in the schedule allocated to the Hundred, despite the fact that the numbers of teams expanded… also, the T20 Blast must be an absolute precedence for everyone, and must be improved and not undermined in any way by these discussions and decisions.”

Earlier this week, Durham chief executive Tim Bostock said that his county are “100% dedicated to bringing a franchise here to the north-east” and described the Hundred as a “silver bullet game-changer” for English cricket. “”We are very self-assured we could attract a large number of interest,” he told PA Media.

He also hinted at the potential for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) making an investment in a Hundred team in the north-east. “We’ve seen the Saudis have bought Newcastle United just down the street, and you do not want to be a mind surgeon to see they’re building a portfolio,” Bostock said.

In Lancashire’s case, Anson said that the county’s would be “more than pleased” to imagine investments into Manchester Originals from a third party, and said that any capital injection would be used to pay down the club’s debt or to invest in “the cricket infrastructure of Lancashire.”

Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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