Isa Guha, the first Indian-origin female cricketer to play for the England women’s cricket squad, is set to be unveiled as the face of a new fast-paced format of cricket to be aired on the BBC.
The Hundred, a quick-fire version of the game devised by the England and Wales Cricket Board to attract a younger and more diverse audience, is loosely based on the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) and will involve each team facing only 100 balls.
The BBC has been awarded TV rights to about a quarter of the tournament’s fixtures in both the men’s and women’s formats, with the rest going to Sky.
“Isa’s star is very much on the rise. She is clearly the right fit as the new face of cricket,” The Sunday Times quoted a source as saying.
Guha, 34, was the first female commentator to cover Sky Sport’s Test cricket and has just completed her coverage of The Ashes series between England and Australia for Sky before reportedly being lured by the BBC.
The Hundred begins next month with eight sides bidding for members in an American-style draft, where teams take turns to select from a pool of players. The matches follow next year, according to the newspaper.
It is historic in many ways as it will be the first time since 1999 that viewers in the UK will be able to watch live cricket screened by the national broadcaster and free-to-air.
Guha, whose parents migrated from Kolkata in the 1970s, made her England debut in 2002 and was once ranked the No. 1 female bowler in the world.
She retired in 2012 and is a regular member of the Test Match Special commentary team on BBC radio. She also presented Channel 4’s highlights programme during the cricket World Cup in the UK earlier this year.
Guha, who is an ambassador for Prince Charles’ British Asian Trust charity, is likely to be joined by former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff on The Hundred.