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Kent stars forced to wait to compete in The Hundred

Kent Cricket players such as Sam Billings, Joe Denly, and Tammy Beaumont will not be taking part in The Hundred this year after the competition was postponed until the 2021 season.

Billings who was picked in the first round of the draft, and Alex Blake, were supposed to be joining Kent coach Matt Walker at the Oval Invincibles.

Alex Blake is one of the Kent players that was meant to be playing in The Hundred this year. Photo: Blue Square Thing

The St Lawrence Ground is also the home ground for the Oval Invincibles women’s team.

Denly, Zak Crawley, and Beaumont were all also selected to play in the 100-ball competition by London Spirit.

Kent chief executive Simon Storey believes postponing the tournament is the right thing to  do.

He said:“Beyond securing the safety of everyone involved in the game, the priority for the ECB and Kent Cricket is to navigate through this current COVID-19 crisis. We therefore support this decision to postpone The Hundred tournament to 2021.

“As well as the club working in partnership with Surrey CCC as part of the Oval Invincibles, a number of Kent players, coaches and support staff were due to take part in The Hundred for different teams, so it is particularly disappointing for them.

“As a women’s host venue for The Hundred, we have also been working hard to prepare for the new competition. We will of course remain ready to continue our support in the future and remain committed to growing the women’s and girl’s game across the county.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) outlined some of the main reasons as to why the tournament cannot go ahead this year.

On their website they reveal: “Operational challenges caused by social distancing, alongside ongoing global travel restrictions, making our ambition to feature world-class players and coaches, unattainable in 2020.

“A behind closed doors competition directly contradicts our goal to attract a broader audience through a unique event experience.”

This announcement from the ECB comes after their decision to postpone the domestic season until at least July. 

The ECB have also announced they will be issuing full refunds to anyone who has bought a ticket as well as letting them have priority on buying tickets in 2021.

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, admits the decision was not an easy one.

He said: ‘’The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer. Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.”

He added: “The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.’’