'Want it to be played when everything is right' - Moeen Ali backs Hundred delay
Moeen Ali believes it "makes more sense" to delay the start of the new Hundred competition as the fate of the tournament hangs in uncertainty.
ECB officials met on Wednesday to mull over the logistical challenges involved in staging the inaugural Hundred this summer in light of the drastic impacts of the coronavirus.
The ECB has heralded the innovative 100-ball format as a game-changer in the country's cricket and is part of the board's strategy to expand viewership of the sport.
With an array of issues already causing a truncated English domestic season, Moeen fears the Hundred will lose its charm if it is held behind closed doors or in the absence of high-profile overseas stars.
"It is better for it to be delayed," the England all-rounder said in a conference call.
"As players, we want the Hundred played with all the best players around the world available to come and play so it makes more sense that way. It is probably going to be too much to squeeze in the last couple of months of the season.
"It would be hard work to squeeze in the Hundred as well. It is such a big deal for us in this country and we want it to be played when everything is right and there are no problems around the world."
Moeen has been an early supporter of the controversial eight-franchise competition and was appointed captain of the Birmingham Phoenix side.
The scenario of the Hundred taking place in 2021 gives birth to anxieties over waning excitement among fans of the tournament.
The ECB had planned to ride the wave of enthusiasm created by England's historic 2019 World Cup triumph and promote the game.
This enforced time-lag due to the COVID-19 crisis also worried Moeen, who opined that a larger audience would have been attracted this year.
"I'm not sure. The mood and wave cricket was on in England last year made it an amazing opportunity this year to play the Hundred, but obviously with what has happened around the world that is going to be harder now."
The 32-year-old suggested introducing a mini-draft for the Hundred that would make the team compositions more diverse.
"If we can get other international players who were not available this year to make the Hundred even stronger for next year through a mini-draft then we can attract a new audience to come and watch cricket."