Sanjay Patel, a senior executive at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), is to leave the governing body later this year.

Patel will step down from his role as managing director of The Hundred, the short-form eight-team city-based competition launched in mid-2021, after the 2023 season concludes in late August.

He initially joined the ECB in 2015 as chief sales and marketing officer before taking on responsibility for The Hundred in 2018 when conversations around what form a new domestic competition would take gained traction.

The Hundred, in which a shorter format than Twenty20 is played and that runs with simultaneous competitions for men’s and women’s teams, has been Patel’s sole focus since January 2019.

He has overseen the tournament's search for both broadcast and commercial partners and its hunt to draw in the new audience that was a key part of its original inception.

Patel said: “I would like to thank Sky, the BBC [the competition's domestic broadcasters], and all our commercial partners for their support.

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“I would also particularly like to thank my whole team for their hard work and dedication in launching the competition. I will always be grateful for their support and friendship. We have come a long way in a short space of time and it is down to their brilliance.

“I will miss this job and the people immensely but once we’ve completed the third season of The Hundred I believe the time will be right for me to look for a new adventure.”

Richard Gould, chief executive at the ECB, added: "I’d like to thank Sanjay for all his work and dedication at the ECB over many years and wish him the very best for the future.

“There’s no doubt that The Hundred has been a success, helping cricket reach new audiences, bringing in important revenue, and propelling the game forwards. It plays an important role in our game and I’m looking forward to a very long and successful future for The Hundred.”

Patel's departure comes with The Hundred’s long-term future very much up in the air.

Media reports over recent weeks and months have suggested that the ECB is tentatively considering scrapping the tournament once the current domestic media rights deal comes to an end in 2028 amid concerns that it has not led to other countries starting up leagues of the same format.

The ECB has claimed that The Hundred generated over £100 million ($124.1 million) in revenue over its first two seasons, with 275,000 tickets already sold for the third edition.

In December, the ECB turned down an offer of £400 million from private equity investment firm Bridgepoint Group for a majority stake in the tournament.

However, according to The Times, an ECB report into the competition earlier this year detailed an operating loss of £9 million in the first two seasons and that it has so far cost the ECB around £60 million.

The 2023 edition of The Hundred will begin on August 1 and conclude on August 27.

The competition’s commercial director, Rob Calder, left the ECB in December to become chief growth officer at England’s Premiership Rugby.

Calder discusses the appeal to both sponsors and broadcasters of The Hundred.

Image: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images