Will The Hundred be even a third as ludicrous as the film 300?

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A lot of people think that The Hundred is ludicrous. To these people, we ask: “Have you not seen 300? That’s truly ludicrous.”

The film 300 (which we’ve just this minute found out isn’t actually called “The 300”) is about 300 Spartans attempting to fend off over 300,000 Persians.

Not great odds of success, you’d have to say. 300 people against 300,000 also feels like like the situation the ECB’s marketing department is currently facing. (Probably quite a lot worse actually.)

But the true ludicrousness lies in the detail. The Hundred brings us crisps, slogans and gibberish.

What does 300 offer?

300 stars Gerard Butler as King Leonidas. Gerard Butler is not an especially subtle actor and King Leonidas is not an especially subtle role.

Here is King Leonidas doing ‘thoughtful’.

Here is King Leonidas about two seconds later doing ‘angry shouting’.

Here is King Leonidas telling his mates, “Tonight we dine in hell.”

And it’s not just King Leonidas. Here’s Xerxes arriving in a manner that would put even Allen Stanford to shame.

We could probably draw some parallels with how the ECB sees itself here, but that feels a little like low-hanging fruit.

Basically the whole of 300’s fully ludicrous from start to finish. There’s also a tremendous amount of blood. (You can draw your own parallels there.)

If The Hundred is anywhere close to being a third as ludicrous as 300, it’ll actually be tremendous fun. We therefore conclude that The Hundred will probably only be about 10 per cent as ludicrous as 300, which puts it right on the cusp of being fun, but not necessarily over.

First published in October 2019 (which is a measure of how long this whole interminable Hundred preamble has been going on for now). Sign up for our email if you want find out what we actually think about the thing once it finally gets underway.

36 comments

  1. What? 300 was in no way ludicrous. A bit over the top at times, yes, but come on, that’s not too bad, no? To be fair though, I had read Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire” before I watched the movie and that might have colored my opinion.

  2. An appropriate analogy if I might say so, given that the snacks proposed for The Hundred…

    …when compared with a classic Ged picnic for a day of cricket…

    …can only be described as spartan rations.

  3. Without the film 300 there would be no Spartacus: Blood and sand. The greatest TV show of all time. Gratitudes.

  4. This all sounds way too violent for me. I prefer films where French women waft about the countryside on bicycles.

    1. It would have to be someone that combines the on-field facial expressions of Kohli with the off-field punch-happiness of Stokes.

      I suggest an amalgamation of the two: Kohkes.

    1. You know we’ve a couple more that will probably get another airing in the coming days/weeks as well.

  5. I’m now struggling to reconcile ludicrousness with ridiculousness.

    But here’s the thing.

    I recently listened to the last two tests of the 2013/14 Ridiculous Ashes and frankly I was more than disappointed by the standard of ridiculousness on show from the Aussie side. It was not test standard ridiculousness. Frankly, in the last test, i didn’t even think Australia’s performance was first class.

    Perhaps their domestic set up is insufficiently ridiculous down under. With all due respect to Australia, I’m starting to wonder whether England should only offer the Aussies shorter series (e.g. best of three) or shorter matches.

    Frankly, if standards continue to fall, I could imagine a future in which Australia, that once-great ridiculous Ashes nation, is only invited to play ludicrous short-form cricket against England having had its ridiculous test status withdrawn.

  6. I shall not watch The ‘Hundred’. I shall endeavour to change the subject in the comment section of every article.

    Ollie Robinson’s back! As in, has returned.

    1. Happy to support you in this endeavour.

      I am less happy about Robinson’s return. Not unhappy though. Neutral-ish. Probably not my place to comment any further.

    2. I noticed India today playing in two different matches on two different continents! Is this sufficiently ludicrous to work as a topic-changer?

    3. Just watched a bit of the ‘Hundred’. I’ve got a headache from the graphics already. Not for me.

      1. Don’t be a fuddy-duddy Sam.

        Daisy and I will be at Lord’s on Sunday.

        We’re super excited.

        It looks as though the Women invincibles might have been vinced already by the time we get to see them. 12/3 as I type.

  7. Could you do an update to your Danish Kaneria / Dane Vilas Danishness contest featuring Dane van Niekerk?
    She seems to pronounce it Dah-nay rather than Dane which is confusing.

  8. 300 would have been more ludicrous if the actors had had to explain everything they were doing in great detail to the viewers who were new to the whole ancient warfare thing, without using any of the words typically used to describe ancient warfare on the grounds that the audience wouldn’t understand them either. Or if they commit the sin of actually mentioning one of those words, having to explain in tedious detail what it means using simpler words.

    “We’re going to use our archers to unleash a deadly assault on our enemies the Spartans! Oops, forgot to mention that archers are fighty people with bows and arrows! For people new to this, arrows are sharp pointy things that fly a long way through the air, stabilised on flight by feathers attached to their rear end, and which hurt anybody they land on, whereas bows…”

    Additionally, 300 would have been more ludicrous if much of the necessary terminology to understand ancient warfare had been rebranded, so that arrows for example are now “owchies” and archers are “archmen” but the actors frequently slip up and refer to things by their old, forbidden names and are constantly apologetic. Meanwhile most of the viewers know things by their old names so may find the slip-ups more comprehensible than the intended word choice.

    300 would indisputably have been more ludicrous if it had been arbitrarily subjected to a 16. 67% reduction in length and renamed 250 to subvert audience expectations, had started off with 250 Greek women fighting off hordes of Persian women before switching the action to the men doing the same thing, and would have reached even greater heights of ludicrousness (ludicrosity? ludicrotude?) if the actors kept on seguing to talk about a radio DJ locked in a caravan who wasn’t even at the battle but had provisionally been planned to make a narrative appearance until he decided to focus on other projects (if one believes https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bbc-suffer-another-blow-in-hunt-for-hundred-host-as-greg-james-pulls-out-5rml3b8t8 anyway).

    Overall the Hundred definitely gave 300 a good run for its money in the ludicrous stakes. Particularly enjoyed how it was dawning on the commentators that cricket is an intrinsically, even absurdly, complicated game, so that it was very tricky in the same breath to describe a “classical legspinner action” while also having to explain what they meant by “pitching it up” and spell out the definition of the “flight” of the ball, or what the point is of making the ball “spin”. There was even a brief attempt at explaining the physics of why bowling the ball very slowly made it harder to hit, apparently after realising their previous mistake of explaining the *reason* for bowling having just bowled a slow ball as it being “harder to hit” – surely counterintuitive to anyone who has never in their life tried to hit a slowly moving sphericalish object with a long hitting implement, hence immediately begging the question of why a slow ball isn’t actually *easier* to hit. I didn’t find the explanation entirely satisfactory and it seemed to get abandoned halfway through, but I very much enjoyed the commentary feeling obliged to dissect such details while also being very conscious that constantly relating the mechanics of the sporting action in terms of basic physics was just going to make the commentary more boring to new and old listeners alike. Listening to the commentary team’s audibly brains whir as they juggled their knives across this verbal tightrope was entertaining out of pure sadism.

    1. Interesting piece with much truth in it.

      But I do not share James Morgan’s relentless pessimism.

      Coincidentally/also interestingly, I read a fascinating piece in The Economist this morning about baseball:

      https://www.economist.com/united-states/2021/07/15/baseball-risks-irrelevance-if-it-doesnt-adapt

      Intriguing statistics/findings from the US research – only 32% of Gen Z Americans claim to be casual or avid MLB (baseball) fans, compared with 50% of US adults generally. “The league has taken notice, and is testing ways to shorten games…”

      If 20% shorter games leads to wider television coverage and more opportunities for participation cricket to emulate the format that youngsters see on the TV, then I see no harm in the slightly revised format…which is all that The Hundred is compared with T20.

      James Morgan was and remains anti-T20, so of course he rejects an additional format in similar mode.

      It is the fact that it is “yet another, additional format” that bothers me the most, but perhaps the format business will settle down.

      I have a long memory for domestic cricket, so I do recall us having B&H (55 overs, sponsored by a despised unhealthy product), John Player League (40 overs with messed-up run-ups and a competitor respiratory-nightmare product as sponsor) and Gillette Cup (60 overs, rarely were the endings a close shave) all chiselling away at the beloved County Championship which, at that time, were three-day matches, largely with contrived endings and with compulsory retirement of first innings after 100 overs for a few years.

      Somehow, I stayed in love with domestic cricket throughout all of that rubbish and expect to remain devoted despite the tinkering.

      1. That is a nice summary, Ged. We’ve thought a lot about all of those various formats and some of the associated innovations in recent times and it’s also informed how we feel about the Hundred.

      2. For me, the strongest argument against The Hundred is the fact that we no longer play first team domestic 50 over cricket in this country. Didn’t we win the World Cup recently?

        Maybe we’ll win the 2040 World Hundred sponsored by Butterkist Popcorn.

      3. Think they’re playing 50-over next year, aren’t they, with the Hundred scheduled to clash with the Blast instead?

        We read that at some point. Can’t honestly be bothered checking it still stands because if it doesn’t, that probably indicates things may well change again anyway.

      4. For what it’s worth, baseball games are getting longer, despite those efforts. They’ve tripped up into well over 3 hours now, when they used to be more like 2 1/2

        The tinkering that has been done in an effort to speed things up – the main thing being to start with a runner on second base in extra innings after they finish tied in the ninth, in the hope that the game finishes quickly, are largely resented by the fanbase. Personally, I don’t mind, because games normally start about 7pm so by the time the extra innings come around I’m tired and I want the game over.

        They also changed the double header rules (where they end up playing two games in one day to make up for days lost to rain, or COVID, or whatever), so those games are only 7 innings.

        The other thing they tried lately (not related to time, as far as I’m aware), was extending the designated hitter rule to the National League sides. This is the guy who only bats, doesn’t field, and means the pitcher doesn’t have to bat. As a fan of watching bowlers bat, this one I’m not in favour of. It went away this season but is probably coming back. But my team is in the American League anyway, so it’s a moot point for me.

        At the end of the day, it’s all still fundamentally baseball, which is still a great game. If not cricket.

        I think I’d dislike the Hundred an awful lot less if I had a team and I didn’t think this was the ECB trying to screw over the small inconvenient counties they want to go away. I don’t much care for T20 either but at least Leics play in it.

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