The ECB's proposals for its new 100-ball tournament will be evaluated by players over the course of six "pilot days" at Loughborough and Trent Bridge between September 14 and 27.
The concept of "The Hundred" was first presented by the ECB in April, as part of the board's plans to attract a new audience when the sport makes a partial return to open television under the terms of the new rights agreement of GBP1.1 billion between 2020 and 2024.
It was met with skepticism from the start, with Daryl Mitchell, the president of the PCA, warning that there could be no competition at all unless the players themselves were convinced of their merits.
That opportunity will now be offered to them, with the ECB requesting comments on "a series of scenarios and game sequences." The players will be given the first outings in Loughborough on September 14, 15 and 27, and the men will play at the Trento Bridge on September 16, 17 and 18. For the most part, the tests will take place behind closed doors, but the opening day of the media is scheduled for day 17.
Most of the 40 players participating in the men's matches will be from Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, since that they do not have county accessories lined up for that week. However, most of the 18 counties are expected to participate in some capacity.
"During the six days, a series of scenarios and game sequences will be explored, centered on the 100-ball format," the ECB said in a press release. "After each day, players will be asked to consider their comments on three key areas: game flow and duration, tactical innovation and player enjoyment."
The concepts to be explored will include longer lengths: with a format of 20 the launch of five balls is now considered the favorite approach, after initial thoughts about 16 overs of six balls and one over-ball at one time . Other ideas that can be explored include bonus score periods, and the opportunity for bowlers to play consecutively.
"The feedback from the pilot days will be part of the continued development of the new competition by the ECB," the statement continued. "After its conclusion, the analysis of the pilot days, together with a wider range of information, will help to further develop the format for the new competition."