THE Hundred will not launch this year, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced today.

It is now to begin in the summer of 2021, with the ECB concluding that it would need to be postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen professional cricket suspended until July 1, at the earliest, in this country.

The new 100-ball competition is to be city-based, and so does not feature Somerset, but several of the county's players had been selected to take part.

Taunton's Cooper Associates County Ground was to be a venue for the women's competition, however, in playing host to Welsh Fire.

The ECB's decision was influenced by the need to maintain social distancing and the restrictions of global travel, as well as the "significant furloughing across the partnership network of 20 venues" making the logistics of delivering a new event "incredibly challenging".

ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison commented: "The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer.

"Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won't get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.

"As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred.

"Our survival as a game, long-term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket's growing fanbase.

"That need has not gone anyway; if anything, it is now more critical.

"The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC.

"Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities."

The full ECB statement can be found here.