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Big Bash League 2012/2013 review

Kristin Carville Roar Rookie

By Kristin Carville, Kristin Carville is a Roar Rookie

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    With the second edition of the BBL now complete, time to take a look at the teams who stepped up and the teams who came crashing down in 2012/2013.

    Brisbane Heat

    Talk about timing your run perfectly. It was s surprise they performed as poorly as they did last year given the team was made up with the bulk of the Queensland team that was dominating domestic cricket at the time.

    After their first few games, it again looked like another season of unfulfilled promise, but Darren Lehmann and his boys turned it on to storm home in their last three games.

    A firing top order and a bowling line-up that was able to choke the life out of their opponents saw them claim an unlikely title, made even sweeter when it was done without captain James Hopes and import Dan Vettori who missed the whole season with injury.

    Their CLT20 campaign will be aided by the fact that many of their squad are not on IPL contracts, although Dan Christian and Luke Pomersbach could be possible losses.

    Hero: Undoubtedly Luke Pomersbach. A man whose talents were known to all in Australian Cricket, it was great (even as a disgruntled Perth fan) to see him return to the domestic scene and make the impact that we know he can.

    Here is hoping he can continue this in all forms of the game and get his name back up in the selectors eyes. Honourable mentions to Joe Burns and Chris Lynn, two great young talents.

    Zero: Hard to pick out any player who didn’t really contribute to the cause. Dan Christian took some time to warm to his task, and even though his batting came good, his bowling at times was expensive, with no better example than the frenzied finish in the pool match against the Scorchers when Nathan Coulter-Nile sent him for 20 in four balls.

    Perth Scorchers

    Will again be disappointed to have hosted the final and come up short for the second year running. Having said that, the fact they were even in a position for that to happen was some effort after the start they had to the comp.

    Coming into the tournament, WA cricket was in a mess, and after a narrow loss to Adelaide in their first game they were skittled for an embarrassing 70 against the Stars. Credit goes to Justin Langer for keeping the team focused, who then lost only one game to the Hurricanes from this point on to host the final.

    They were an exhilarating team to watch at times, with their chases against the Heat in the pool match and against the Stars in the semi were two of the best you will see. There was a concern their batting line-up was a bit skinny, and this was perhaps exposed in the final having worked for the previous seven games. Should do much better this time around in the CLT20, especially if Pat Cummins is fit to fire.

    Hero: Shaun Marsh. Like his close mate Luke Pomersbach, this tournament provided redemption for one of the better batting talents in Australia. A horror 12 months before saw him barely score a run against India, and his form dipped so badly he was dropped to grade cricket, on top of the dramas at the CLT20.

    However, he turned it around and ended up topping the run charts and was by far the most consistent batsman during BBL02. What was lovely to watch with Marsh was that in the helter skelter T20 environment, he did all this with classical cricket shots rather than ugly heaves.

    Let’s hope this helps him rediscover himself as the player who scored a century on Test debut.

    Zero: Has to be Tom Triffit. Made the move west at the start of the year, and had shown great promise in the previous two years at Tasmania/Hobart while filling in for Tim Paine. Unfortunately he could barely score a run, and was so out of form the gloves were given to Mike Hussey for the last two games.

    Melbourne Renegades

    Did not get the reward they deserved for an amazing turnaround and brilliant season. Last season they only avoided the wooden spoon on net run rate, and in the lead up to the tournament lost Brad Hodge, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew McDonald, Shaun Tait and Shahid Afridi from their line-up.

    Huge credit has to go to Simon Helmot and his crew for the wonderful job of recruitment they did to turn their season around. With Aaron Finch and Ben Rohrer leading the way, backed up with the ball by the wily old fox Murali, this team set the benchmark for the whole tournament, only to fall over at the end when confronted by a red hot Brisbane team.

    If they can keep this team together next year they will again be contenders.

    Hero: Ben Rohrer. Was the unsung hero for NSW when they beat Victoria back in the 2008/09 Big Bash, and the Sixers must be kicking themselves for letting him go.

    One of the most consistent performers, always went about it with little fan fare, but regularly found or cleared the boundary and scored at a good click. Very unlucky not to be picked for the national team, and NSW will hope he carries that form over for the rest of the season.

    Zero: Another tough one, but will say Marlon Samuels, mainly due to his poor form with the bat. Bowled well – albeit with big question marks over his action – but was mainly brought in after his great form on the international scene, especially a man-of-the-match effort in the WT20 final.

    Unfortunately will only be remembered this year for the controversies, especially the spat with Shane Warne.

    Melbourne Stars

    Again, like last year had a patchy season, but did enough to make the finals before being knocked off by Perth. With the core of the Victorian team that dominated the comp when it was still state based they are always expected to do well, but would not have been expected to be shown up by their cross town rivals.

    Inconsistent performances cost them at crucial times, and their focus at times was questioned on the field in light of the Clint McKay/Dan Christian and Warne/Samuels incidents. They have a stable list and should be expected to be there or thereabouts again next year.

    Hero: Lasith Malinga. Enhanced his reputation as a short form bowler with a wonderful campaign, highlighted by his haul of 6/7 against a clueless Scorchers line-up. Was definitely missed in the final two games when their bowling line-up showed some signs of fragility.

    Zero: Shane Warne. Hate to speak ill of an Aussie cricket legend, but his campaign was far from memorable. Copped a pasting in the first game, but even though his bowling came back, his captaincy and behaviour at times was poor.

    The Samuels incident, his decision to bowl Alex Keath and not himself in the semi and the subsequent captaincy fiasco will be his final acts. That is a sad end for the spin king. Closely followed by Rob Quiney who has had a shocking run of form since his Test debut.

    Adelaide Strikers

    Well, what can you say about the Strikers other than that dreaded C word – choke. They had a finals spot on a platter, and even a close loss in that last game against the Scorchers would have got them in, but they capitulated and that was that.

    Again were expected to do well, and with the inclusion of Tait and McDonald to their squad, as well as having Kieron Pollard fit this year, they had the line-up to go all the way.

    At times though they became too dependent on Pollard as well as their spin, with their ‘spin to win’ mantra being shown up against the Scorchers.

    Need to make the finals next year or else questions will be asked of this group.

    Hero: Tim Ludeman. Set great platforms for them at the top of the order with some carefree and courageous innings, and no doubt caught many teams off guard. His keeping was also of a high standard and if he keeps this form up could throw his name into the ring for higher honours.

    Zero: Not a player, but have to say selection. Made it clear with their squad that they were going to be heavily reliant on spin, but that reliance ended up proving too heavy.

    Had a strike weapon in Shaun Tait who was under utilised, and in the end their spin heavy attack became predictable, resulting in 189 being scored against them in their last game.

    Hobart Hurricanes

    Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the tournament from a team perspective. Were knocked out in the semis last year by eventual champs the Sixers, and this year had George Bailey, Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting to add to a strong line-up.

    Alas is it wasn’t to be. They failed to improve on last year. It seemed to be a case of relying on too much from too few, although the lack of form from one or two key players would not have been expected. They often squandered strong positions in the game.

    Hero: Ben Laughlin. He had disappeared into the wilderness for a few years after playing some ODI and T20 cricket in early 2009 for Australia, but is well and truly back. Took the spot of Rana Naved in closing out the end of the innings with a wonderful variation and great accuracy. Deserved to be back in the national team and with Malinga he was the bowler of the tournament.

    Zero: Travis Birt. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the whole tournament. Set BBL01 alight with his power hitting and remarkable consistency of scores. Looked set for the same after the first game , but he suffered a dramatic fall in form and barely scored another run after that.

    Doug Bollinger was also disappointing and seems to be a shadow of the bowler who was playing for Australia just over two years ago.

    Sydney Sixers

    Talk about from the penthouse to the outhouse. BBL01 champions, CLT20 champions, and started the campaign off with another win against the Thunder and looked untouchable. From there it all unravelled, and they only secured another two wins, although one of those was an away win against eventual champs Brisbane.

    They did suffer from a horrid run of injuries, but they could just not get everything to click. Their batting in particular suffered with their full depth being tested, and somewhat exposed. They must be kicking themselves for letting Ben Rohrer and Peter Nevill go to the Renegades.

    Hero: Hard to pick one from the team in the circumstances, but it would have to be a joint award to the two veterans Brad Haddin and Brett Lee. Haddin was the leading batsman for the Sixers, continuing his form from the start of the season and earning a national ODI recall.

    Lee was by far the best of the bowlers, with the opposition often just seeing off his four overs to ensure they did not lose any wickets. They would have loved the support of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood this year.

    Zero: Moises Henriques. Started the domestic summer like a house on fire, but that flame was well and truly extinguished during the BBL. Only 78 runs with the bat, and three wickets with the ball at nearly 10 an over. His bowling figures are almost identical to those of Aaron Finch, who is even less than a part-time bowler. How he was picked for Australia now is beyond me.

    Sydney Thunder

    Not a lot that can be said that hasn’t been said already. A winless season, and apart from when Chris Gayle got firing in the last game against the Stars they never seriously looked like winning a game at all.

    On paper they had a better balanced team than last year when they won two games, but again their batting let them down. Their bowling was much better with the experience of Dirk Nannes and the emerging Chris Tremain and Adam Zampa, but they either had to little to defend or watched their batsmen squander their good work.

    Hero: Usman Khawaja. Like Shaun Marsh, he showed that runs in T20 can still come at a quick rate with classical cricket shots and not ugly heaves.

    The improvement in his batting was again highlighted here as he never got bogged down as he did last season, and could have done even better if he had some support while he was there instead of having to shepherd the innings. Honourable mention goes to Dirk Nannes for his wonderful bowling.

    Zero: Chris Gayle. Undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the tournament. Came over with huge expectations after his efforts last year, as well as around the world in various T20 tournaments, but a form rut that had begun in Bangladesh carried over to the BBL.

    Some would say his allowance to stay in the city away from the rest of the team was also poor team management, as it would not have helped team harmony as well as the likelihood that Gayle was out clubbing to the early hours each night.

    Be sure to head to the second ODI between Australia and England this Friday at the Gabba, and don't forget to be wearing your XXXX Goldie to be in with a chance to win $10k in XXXX GOLD’s crowd catch competition.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 5:58am
      Tenash said | January 23rd 2013 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      the biggest winner from the 2nd season of the BBL is undoubtedly the Melbourne Renegades
      yes even bigger than Brisbane Heat

      the Renegades not only won the minor premiership but have also cemented themselves off the field with avg crowds close to 15k

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 6:55am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 23rd 2013 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      What? Their crowds were only just over 13k. Which only gets them anked 5th in the comp.

      • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:39am
        Little Aussie Battler said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        There was a significant drop in attendances and tv audiences this season.

        It is interesting to note that when 50 overs cricket started up, the domestic competition also had great crowds for the first 10 years I recall and with the old state teams.

        Then in the mid 1990s they decided to change the team names. For example, Queensland went from just being informally called the Maroons to officially being called “The Bulls”. Victoria was known as “The Vics” informally and then they were known as “The Bushrangers”. Made very little difference to attendances of course, not sure what the whole point of that was.

        Then we have the latest stunt by the cricket authorities who have pushed onto us these phoney teams. It is straight out of Dilbert’s management manual.

        Meanwhile, they ignore what fan actually want and the interest goes southwards.

        • January 23rd 2013 @ 10:03am
          Matt F said | January 23rd 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          Interest is down on last year but it isn’t really any lower than the last states based T20 competition

        • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:09am
          Don Corleone said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

          Actually this argument that BBL is losing interest is completely incorrect.

          If the Adelaide Oval was at full capacity and the Strikers games got 27,000 crowds like BBL01…the crowd aggregate and average would have been similar to the previous season.

          With a domestic cricket record set at the MCG this year, it’s a bit hard to argue declining interest.

          The BBL experimented with an earlier start than usual and it backfired. Understandably pre-Christmas, midweek games struggled, but in the traditional BBL timeslot after Christmas interest was at previous levels. The same goes for TV audiences.

          I don’t think Cricket Australia will make the same mistake with the scheduling.

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 1:12pm
            Matt F said | January 23rd 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            They’ve announced that they’re going to push the tournament back by a week or so next season

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:40pm
              Don Corleone said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              It makes sense. It’s just a shame that they provided the opportunity for critics to pounce on the early figures to try and discredit the league.

      • January 23rd 2013 @ 8:32pm
        Tenash said | January 23rd 2013 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

        sorry i miscalculated

        the Renegades crowd averaged close to 14k or 13,804 to be exact from 5 games at Etihad.

        That is still nothing to be sniffed at considering the Stars averaged just below 21.5k.

        So combined the 2 Melb. sides averaged over 35,000

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:41pm
      Lancey5times said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

      Henriques. I will never understand either

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • January 24th 2013 @ 12:00am
        Kristin Carville said | January 24th 2013 @ 12:00am | ! Report

        Seems to be the new teacher pet along with Glenn Maxwell. Wonder how Steve Smith, John Hastings and Dan Christian feel.

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:45pm
      Tenash said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

      little aussie

      the BBL also holds most of the record crowds for domestic cricket in history

      yes that includes all shield , one day & state t20’s

      46,581 at MCG
      (domes record for Melbourne)

      18,519 at WACA
      (domestic record for Perth)

      14,185 at Belrieve Oval (domestic record for Hobart)

      29,241 at Gabba
      (domes. record for Brisbane)

      27,380 at Adelaide Oval
      (domes. record for Adelaide)

      31,262 at ANZ
      (domestic record for Sydney)

      23,589
      (record for Docklands)

      27,520
      (record for SCG)

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:47pm
      Tenash said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

      official BBL02 stats from the BBL site and Cricket Aus –

      crowd average : 14379

      Pay tv ratings : 232,864

      so this seasons crowds have dropped by 19% and tv ratings by 17%.this drop always happens in the 2nd season of any new league of any sport.
      and it was mostly caused due to scheduling 16 games before Xmas this season (especially the midweek games) which even CA has now admitted.

      Interestingly, even after dropping 17% the pay tv ratings are still the 2nd highest of any sport only just behind the NRL ratings of 259k

      NRL : 259 k
      BBL : 233 k
      AFL : 181 k
      A-league : 78 k

    • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:58pm
      Kristin Carville said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:58pm | ! Report

      Look, I think it can be universally accepted that crowds during BBL02 were down. The diminished capacity of Adelaide Oval and the SCG as well as the poor performance of the Sydney team would be significant factors, but the main cause seems to have been the early start. As Stuar Clark mentioned on Inside Cricket, family budgets were focued on Christmas, school was not yet finished when the comp started so it was not as attractive an option for families. I liked his idea of waiting for the post New Years test period to ensure the bulk of the games can feature the Test players and therefore increase the chances of a good gate.

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