Matches (17)
WPL (2)
PSL 2024 (2)
NZ v AUS (1)
Ranji Trophy (2)
WCL 2 (1)
Nepal Tri-Nation (1)
Sheffield Shield (3)
CWC Play-off (4)
BAN v SL (1)

Concerns over Hundred's impact set to rise as hosts court players from smaller counties

Sussex duo Jordan and Salt have been targeted by Surrey and Lancashire respectively

George Dobell
George Dobell
Chris Jordan celebrates after removing Phil Salt  •  Getty Images

Chris Jordan celebrates after removing Phil Salt  •  Getty Images

Concerns about the long-term impact of the Hundred on smaller clubs are likely to rise after it emerged that several players are being courted by hosting counties.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Chris Jordan and Phil Salt (both Sussex) have been targeted by Surrey and Lancashire respectively. Jordan plays for Southern Brave, based at The Ageas Bowl and Salt for Manchester Originals (based at Emirates Old Trafford). There is also understood to be significant interest in Matt Critchley (Derbyshire and Welsh Fire) with Glamorgan believed to be one of those counties involved. In the case of Critichely, who is not out of contract, it is understood there is a buy-out clause - believed to be £30,000 - in the player's contract.
While none of the deals is currently understood to have been completed, the interest has raised alarm around the counties who fear the "unexpected consequences" (as one county official termed it), of the new competition. Specifically, they are concerned that the hosting clubs are using the income they gain from the competition - they get to keep a portion of ticket sales and the hospitality revenue alongside a staging fee - to make contract offers which the smaller counties cannot match. In the short-term, this suggests a talent drain towards the hosting venues; in the longer-term, it may raise questions about the viability of those smaller counties.
At present there are eight Hundred hosting teams. It is anticipated this will grow to 10 in the next few years with Bristol and Durham looking best-placed to be added. But that will still leave eight first-class counties facing an unequal battle to compete with their better-resourced neighbours and, in the longer-term, perhaps facing an uncertain future.
The situation has been complicated by a change in criteria surrounding the approach of contracted players. In recent years, clubs had to issue a 28-day notice of approach to the county that held the player's contract before talking to any player who was out of contract at the end of the season. That rule has been discontinued and, while there are still regulations in place, it seems that counties are not entirely familiar with them and, as a result, have not always followed them as closely as might be expected. There is no suggestion of wrong-doing in the cases of Jordan, Salt or Critichely.
It is understood the matter has been brought to the attention of the ECB by officials from the so-called smaller counties.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo