In the summer of 2024, cricket enthusiasts are gearing up for a clash of the titans as The Hundred and Major League Cricket (MLC) go head-to-head for the first time. The battle for top men’s players is set to unfold in late July, narrowly avoiding schedule overlaps from the previous year.
Backed by Indian and American investors, MLC is gearing up for its second season, commencing on July 4 and concluding “by early August.” Meanwhile, The Hundred, hosted by the ECB, will kick off its fixtures on July 23, with The Oval playing host to the opening matches.
However, a potential hurdle arises as The Hundred coincides with England’s men’s international match against the West Indies, with the third Test starting on July 26. This clash impacts player availability for at least the initial week of The Hundred. Fortunately, England’s women won’t face a scheduling conflict, concluding a T20I series against New Zealand on July 17.
Anticipations arise that The Hundred won’t overlap with the Caribbean Premier League in 2024, with both the men’s and women’s finals scheduled for August 18 at Lord’s. While CPL dates are pending, it is expected to commence in the final week of August.
The clash with MLC poses a substantial challenge regarding player availability, with 19 players, including Tim David and Heinrich Klaasen, participating in both leagues during MLC’s inaugural season. The ECB has expressed concerns about the launch of MLC during the northern hemisphere summer, withholding No-Objection Certificates for centrally-contracted players.
The ICC’s global limit of four overseas players per team in franchise leagues, implemented last year, currently exceeds MLC’s cap. Richard Thompson, the ECB’s chair, expressed concerns about leagues masquerading as domestic competitions, specifically referencing MLC.
In its inaugural season, MLC paid top earners around US$175,000 to play a minimum of five games, surpassing The Hundred’s highest men’s salary of £125,000 for a minimum of eight games. As discussions unfold about potentially opening The Hundred to private investors from 2025, the cricketing world eagerly awaits the outcome of this intriguing clash of cricketing giants.