The Big Bash League has again been corrupted by meaningless hit-and-giggle. How much longer can the sanctity of domestic T20 cricket be ravaged by the international game?
Questions must be asked after the competition was burgled blind of some its finest drawcards this week under the flimsy guise of national duty.
With a host of household names and Billy Stanlake uprooted, a delicious season in its prime stages has been rendered a dilapidated farrago of old blokes, Test specialists and spotty cult heroes.
And all for what? The hollow responsibility of fielding a team for Australia – or in Steve O’Keefe’s case, for nets and chill.
How can the 20-over game – one of such rich tradition in this country – be continually treated with such disdain?
Withdrawing box-office talent for the purpose of pimping-out a national side not only undermines the league’s credibility, it hinders form lines for gambling purposes.
Such disrespect is a slap in the face for the league’s months and months of revered history. It is also a blatant flipping of the bird towards cricket’s libertarian movements of free agency and the West Indies model.
However, despite many choosing to point fingers at greedy administrators and their scheduling, the players themselves are not blameless.
Judging by their selfish abandonment of club duties for the self-indulgence of national service, it seems the lure of representing one’s country may have unfortunately eclipsed the prestige of the franchise snapback.
With this power shift occurring, it is difficult to say where the Big Bash League will find itself in future.
Based on this week’s events, it seems destined to be devalued to a glorified trial for Australian Test selection.
Unfortunately for traditionalists, the lure of international cricket seems to be growing ever stronger.
It is inevitable that it will continue to flex its muscles over T20 cricket in the same manner it has this week – as if it has the weight of history on its side.
This is no more apparent than here in Australia, where a deep cultural hold and exorbitant riches are proving an unwanted distraction for youngsters who should be concentrating on the game’s traditional fundamentals, such as range hitting, slow bouncers and all-round general hot-dogging.
Call me old fashioned, but the longer forms are holding the game back.