The draft, the league’s process of team selection, featured 8 selection panels, each made up of three dull middle aged men, taking it in turns to choose players to represent their teams. The panels were given 100 seconds each round to make their pick, which could’ve introduced some tension to proceedings if it wasn’t far longer than any of them needed.
Ian Ward and Isa Guha were given the unenviable job of presenting the process, desperately trying to inject some excitement into proceedings as they asked a string of England cricketers for their take on selections, the response being almost invariably “he’s a decent player”. The only player who gave any real opinions on who his team should pick was Jonny Bairstow, who somehow managed to alienate his teammates before they’d even been selected by repeatedly stating his preference for a spinner over the players his side went on to select.
Given that The Hundred is supposed to shorten the game of cricket, apparently making it more attractive to the laymen, it is incredible that they managed to drag out such a simple and frankly dull concept into three hours, longer than any of the matches in “The Hundred” will be. The show was padded out by Rob Key carrying out green room interviews, similar to those seen annually at Eurovision except rather than camp Europeans in sequins he was interviewing dour Yorkshiremen in shirts emblazoned with crisp logos.
Whilst The Hundred’s decision to have every team’s shirt sponsored by a different brand of crisps has been criticised for promoting unhealthy eating it actually provided the most, and to be honest only, entertaining part of the draft. With little known about any of the franchises outside their kit, sponsor and city, viewers’ only real reaction to a selection was to match the player to the crisps and city, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc will be eating Hula Hoops in Cardiff next summer, whilst Jofra Archer, Andre Russell and David Warner will be tucking into packs of Pom Bears in South London.
Against all the odds the draft turned out to be fairly entertaining purely on account of how bad it was. The coverage has been uploaded in full to YouTube, so if you’ve got a spare three hours this week and don’t fancy splashing out on a pot of paint to watch dry then consider catching up on probably the most boring three hours of sports coverage you’ll ever see.