The Hundred will be played over a four-week window in August 2023.

The Hundred will run from 1 to 27 August 2023, a shorter window than its first two seasons as the competition avoids a clash with England’s home international cricket for the first time.

England men’s Tests against India (2021) and South Africa (2022) have previously been played with a hundred, overlapping with the second half of the competition, but the tournament will instead be played in August in 2023. will prevail.

The draft fixture schedule obtained by ESPNcricinfo sees the tournament kick off in Nottingham, where defending men’s champions Trent Rockets will play Southern Brew on Tuesday, August 1, after the fifth day of the men’s Ashes Test schedule at The Oval.

The group stage is scheduled to conclude on August 24 with the eliminators on August 26 and the final on August 27. Both knockout rounds are likely to take place in London after criticism of the travel time involved in the 2022 schedule.

The tournament will span 27 days in 2023, compared to 32 days in its first two seasons. The change could be seen as a victory for counties, some of which asked the ECB to do so as part of its feedback on county schedule reforms unsuccessfully proposed by the Andrew Strauss-led High Performance Review. Look for a short window for the hundred. .

In practice, the Hundred was always likely to run for a shorter period in 2023 to avoid any overlap with international fixtures, opening up broadcasters’ schedules. As a result, there are to be eight double matchdays – with men’s and women’s matches on the same day at two venues – in 2022 compared to three in 2023.

Hundred’s future was in the spotlight this weekend after Sky News reported that a private equity firm had approached the ECB with a £400 million bid for a 75 per cent stake in the competition. The board hopes that the value of the tournament will continue to increase in the coming season, which is unlikely to go ahead at this stage.

Critics of the tournament argue that the Hundred is not worth the investment required for it, pointing to poor broadcast data and the disappointing quality of foreign players. Supporters say the huge attendance, commercial interest and its transformative impact on the women’s game have justified the ECB’s decision to launch its own short-form tournament.

The appointment of Richard Gould and Richard Thomson, two of Hundred’s most outspoken critics during his time at Surrey, as the ECB’s new chief executive and chairman, may have suggested a change in direction from central leadership, but Tournament conditions are prohibited. A broadcast deal with Sky that runs until the end of the 2028 season.

The provisional fixtures for 2023 were sent to the general managers of the Hundred teams last week and discussions with the players about retention have begun. Men’s teams are expected to have the option to retain up to 10 players on a mutually agreed salary band before the draft in March, while the women’s retention mechanism was recently confirmed.

Salaries have been frozen and the overseas wild card eliminated after one season. Teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions will have only three foreign players in their squads instead of four, with all three allowed to feature in any playing XI.

As a result, the availability of overseas players will be particularly important. New Zealand’s international schedule during August over the next two years is clear and tournament officials expect Trent Boult to enter the draft as a potential top-bracket pick. Players from Bangladesh, Ireland and Sri Lanka should also be fully available while players from South Africa and Australia could miss the final week of the bilateral series.

While the England men’s schedule during the Hundreds window is clear, organizers accept it is unlikely multi-format players will be available for more than a handful of fixtures. The tournament starts immediately after the Ashes and England’s busy limited-overs schedule in September goes straight into their 50-over World Cup defense in India, meaning some players may skip the hundred altogether.

The ECB held talks with the Caribbean Premier League earlier this month to discuss competition windows and all parties are understood to be keen to avoid future clashes. However, they are expected to overlap again in 2023, with space limited during the West Indies’ home season by the World Cup in October.

The 2023 county season will follow a similar pattern to 2022: the group stages of the T20 Blast will run from May 20 to July 2, with the quarter-finals the following week and the final day at Edgbaston on July 15, while the Royal London Cup takes place. Staged alongside the Hundred, with the final at Trent Bridge on 16 September.

The men’s county and women’s regional fixtures will be released in full on Wednesday, with the Hundred fixtures to be announced at a later date.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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