It’s true, BBL razzle-dazzle is here to stay
Big Bash League: Sixers v Heat (Image credit: All-Codes)
Although a Test cricket devotee, I have started enjoying T20s. In limited doses it is entertaining, but in excess, it can spoil a batsman’s concentration and technique.
Also big money offered in Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL) could subconsciously affect the hunger for success at first-class and Test levels.
All this has been discussed ad nauseam. Like it or not, the BBL is here to stay. It starts on Friday between two Melbourne teams, Renegades and Stars, at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. The match is grandiosely referred to as the Melbourne Derby.
Then on Saturday is the Sydney Derby, when two glamour teams from Sydney – Sixers and Thunder – lock horns on the SCG.
Sydney Sixers, led by the forgotten Test wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, are the reigning champions, having defeated Perth Scorchers in BBL-1′s exciting final in Perth last January.
To prove that this was not a fluke T20 triumph, the Sixers then won another Trophy, the Champions League T20, defeating Highveld Lions – a strong South African team – in Johannesburg a few months ago.
Apart from the huge trophy, they netted a cool US$2.65million.
Called a city versus city extravaganza, the teams in the BBL have been enriched by local and imported stars.
Chris Gayle, the Windies current Master Blaster, will represent Sydney Thunder. Muttiah Muralitharan and Marlon Samuels are turning out for Melbourne Renegades. Lasith Malinga will be captained at Melbourne Stars by Shane Warne. Windies all-rounder Kieron Pollard is playing for Adelaide Strikers. Dale Steyn and Kemar Roach will represent Brisbane Heat. Sunil Narine and Mitchell Starc will be wearing magenta for the Sydney Sixers and Herschelle Gibbs will be providing batting grunt for the Perth Scorchers.
ICC World T20 Champions, the West Indies, are well represented with five players across five teams.
With Starc performing so well with both ball and bat in the recent Perth Test against South Africa, he will be representing Australia in Tests against Sri Lanka rather than Sydney Sixers in the BBL.
BBL-2 will entertain cricket fans from this Friday until 12 January in major venues. The semi-finals will be played on 15 and 16 January, with the final on the 19th.
For spectator interest it will be a promoter’s dream if Melbourne Stars make the final. The farewell Ricky Ponting got in the Perth Test on Monday will pale in comparison to Warne playing his last important match, watched by 40,000 on the MCG.
The BBL, like the IPL, entertains the masses. But what about injury toll to Aussie fast bowlers? Haven’t we had a gutful of injuries as bowlers break down due to excessive cricket 12 months a year? Cricket Australia should count injuries as we go into season number two of moneybag cricket.
Fox Sport will introduce innovations to get spectators closer to the action. ‘Helmet-cam’ will make its first appearance as batsmen face up to fast bowlers with an HD lens on the visor of the helmet.
Another innovation will be ‘Octo-copter’, with the drone-like HD camera buzzing above the action, says the publicity manual. To me it seems to be the same as the spider-cam we have witnessed in recent months.
I will certainly watch BBL-2 live or on TV. But only on days there is no Test match.
Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.
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