Northants chairman Warren insists The Hundred will make cricket ‘better and stronger’

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Northants chairman Gavin Warren has insisted the new 100-ball competition, to begin next season, will be ‘huge for the game’.

The Hundred will see eight new teams based at the country’s biggest grounds compete in matches of 100 balls per side.

The concept has come in for fierce criticism for excluding smaller counties, who will link up with other counties to help run one of the new teams.

Northants will join Essex and Middlesex in partnership of the team based at Lord’s, which it has been reported will be named London Spirit.

Warren, who is a board member of the new competition, conceded that communication about the details of the new tournament could have been better, but said it would help grow the game and sustain counties like Northants.

“I genuinely believe in it and I think it’s going to be good for the game,” said Warren.

“I have a responsibility to the game to make it better and stronger and what we’re trying to do is extend the love for the game.

“We have an opportunity to take cricket to a wider and more diverse audience. From a pure cricket perspective I’m sure we would all like more people to enjoy the game and then from the broadcasters’ perspective that allows them to reach a new audience and create greater levels of interest.

“On the back of that we have been able to negotiate a £1.1 billion deal, that includes 11 games on free-to-air television, which is so important for the whole game.”

Each county has been guaranteed a windfall of at least £1.3 million per year from the deal – and the injection of funds will see Northants become debt free next year.

“We now as a club have to work out how to spend this money,” said Warren.

“The next business plan will be even more important over the next five years to make us a sustainable club for the next 100 years.

“That is the opportunity presented by this increased funding. We can focus on how we can better connect with our local clubs and how we can grow the game regionally and in turn build and display pathways for young talent that can benefit and strengthen the club into the future.”

Warren is into his fifth year as Northants chairman – a tenure that has involved hard work to recover a precarious financial position.

“The playing budget has increased 25 per cent over the past three years but spending money doesn’t guarantee success,” said Warren. “Surrey’s budget would be 75 per cent bigger than ours and it took them years to win the championship again.

“We’ve improved the coaching set up. We’ve invested in loan players – Jamie Overton and Luke Wood, we’re paying for these guys. Before we’d have said to other coaches, can you do us a favour? Now we’re actually spending to bring these guys in.

“I’m delighted that we’re now on a very sound financial footing – but also disappointed we’re not performing to our potential. But I’d rather be financially sound because this gives us a platform to grow the game in Northamptonshire and beyond.”