Big Bash revamp good and bad
Cricket Australia (CA) has bitten the bullet and made radical changes to its domestic Twenty20 championship, the Big Bash, which aims to milk the cash cow that is Twenty20 cricket.
Twenty20 cricket is now very important to the state cricket associations as it recoups money lost on the Sheffield Shield and one-day competition, and a new Big Bash reboots an already successful idea.
Overall, I am quite impressed with the concept Cricket Australia has come up with – eight teams based in Melbourne (x2), Sydney (x2), Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth will play 31 matches over six weeks.
While I believe that Geelong deserved a team instead of two Melbourne sides, I love the idea of two Sydney sides playing out of western and eastern Sydney. The working class west versus the wealthy east side will be the big feature of the new competition. I also like the idea of a player draft that could see Cameron White play for the Bushrangers in Sheffield Shield and one-day competitions but possibly play for Adelaide in the Twenty20 competition.
Giving credit where credit is due, Cricket Australia held firm and decided not to shorten the Sheffield Shield season, despite contemplating it. Instead, CA sacrificed the One Day Cup, which has been struggling for many years to retain relevance. At a time where our Test cricket status is low, shortening the nursery from which our Test stars come from would be a PR and talent building disaster.
However, not everything with this new competition is right. The one thing that bugs me is the timing of the new Big Bash. The tournament is due to start in December and finish at the end of January, around the same time as the our international cricket season hots up.
This is despite James Sutherland stressing that Twenty20 isn’t about to take over international cricket, rather it is to complement it. How can this tournament complement international cricket when it is running in direct competition with the international summer of cricket? Playing it at that time will only cannibalise cricket’s audience.
October or March, when there is no international cricket and little competition from the football codes, would be a better time to stage it, and give it the best publicity and the best players.
When things are balanced out though, this competition is exciting and I cannot wait. Australia has been slow to take up Twenty20 and this competition will hopefully help play catch up with India and other nations.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.