Tom Harrison backs the Hundred’s trailblazing potential, but what does it mean for English cricket?

Tom Harrison, the chief executiveof the England & Wales Cricket Board, was suitably grilled by Michael Atherton on Sky Sports at lunch on the first day of England’s Test match with India at Lord’s.

The pair spoke first about the inaugural season of the Hundred and its potential impact on each dimension of the game. Harrison noted that a large proportion of Hundred crowds had come to cricket for the first time, and that the competition is giving the sport the variety and wide-ranging coverage that it needs to grow.

However, despite the huge investment in its marketing this summer, Harrison refused to accept that “collateral damage” would be a necessary bi-product of its centrality in the calendar. But there a note of incredulity in Atherton’s tone, given the Royal London One Day Cup has been openly undermined by the Hundred’s pillaging of many of its most exciting players.

The T20 Blast also seems a potential victim of a schedule that Atherton has described as a “joke”, a fear that Harrison did little to quash as he failed to say outright that the Hundred would not be expanded. Harrison, who seemed to be sweating profusely under the pressure from Atherton’s questioning, hid many of his answers behind the “exceptional circumstances” of the year gone by.

Ultimately, there were very few elucidations on how the currently crammed, mismanaged summer schedule would be eased in the future, and asked about the impact on smaller counties, Harrison conceded that there will be “anomalies” that have to be “minimised” because of the “variety of cricketacross the spectrum”.

As far as the answers to the big questions are concerned, the authorities seem to be as in the dark as the confused fans.