Big Bash could be the saviour of Australian cricket
The Twenty20 Big Bash is going to take over the Australian summer, not because Twenty20 cricket is so great, but there is a void that needs to be filled.
The way it currently stands, there isn’t that much cricket played between November and February. So what there is, is horribly stretched out.
So much so that the West Indians left these shores in mid-December and will return for their pyjama cricket in February.
When you have Sundays in December and January in which there is no cricket on the TV, then that spells a summer of discontent.
Every year, the Big Bash gets better, but a problem with it this year has been the scheduling.
There should be more cricket, with less of a break in-between matches. If it expands to eight teams next year, as has been mooted, all teams should play each other twice with games played every day.
You could also have two double-headers over the weekend.
Condense the period in which the Australian side plays and this will allow the international players to be a part of the Big Bash.
For 40 years, people have tried to devise a way to bring crowds to domestic cricket – this is your win-win-solution.
Imagine a game where Ricky Ponting is taking on Mitchell Johnson or Doug Bollinger is giving it to Mike Hussey.
The players would feel a renewed association with their States and the crowds would love this.
Had this been around earlier, we would have got to witness Dennis Lillee steam in to Ian Chappell and Shane Warne duelling with the Waugh twins.
Yes this happened in Shield and 50 over cricket, but in a pretty insipid atmosphere in-front of threadbare crowds. Not something like this, which has a real sense of occasion and a hyped up crowd.
No one denies that Test cricket is the ultimate form of cricket and the thing that all players should aspire to play, but this is going to bring people through the turnstiles. And cricket as a form of entertainment needs to be mindful of this.
The Day 1 attendance at the Melbourne Test against Pakistan was just under 60,000. It was just above 5,000 for the fifth and final day.
Ricky Ponting might not like it, but to quote Bill Lawry in the spirit of the 12th Man: “it’s what the fans want.”
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