BBL07: Here’s what’s grinding my gears this summer

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Right, that’s it. I can’t hold this in any longer.

    The Big Bash League has been mostly fantastic again this summer, but the longer it’s gone on, the more some little things have annoyed the hell out of me. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this, so let’s have it out in this BBL07 cleansing session.

    Here’s what grinds my gears this season.

    Some of the fielding has been horrendous
    Seriously bad! Alex Carey’s hundred was superb on Wednesday night, and his Australian squad call-up is very much deserved for his whole body of form, not just his BBL output.

    But my goodness, Hobart gifted him some runs. Multiple fielders running toward a catch, and then all pulling out; no communication ensuring the chance of a catch falls into open space. It’s offensive to park cricketers to call it ‘park cricket level’.

    And the Hurricanes are hardly alone in this department; all eight sides have been guilty of some seriously tragic fielding this season. Players at this level shouldn’t be taking their eye off the ball in the process of taking a catch.

    Players at this level shouldn’t be mis-reading a possible catch that they come in so far, only to see it fly over their head and not even go for six. Players at this level certainly shouldn’t be not bending down far enough to pick up a ball, only to sit it go through their legs for four.

    An old coach of mine used to sing out in the middle of a fielding drill, ‘Down. Pick up. Throw.’

    It was never said encouragingly; it was always said mockingly to point out the bleedingly obvious simple skill error that had been committed. And he didn’t discriminate; first grade players, fifth grade players, state reps alike.

    He’d be having a field day with some of this BBL fielding. Down. Pick up. Throw. It just shouldn’t be happening.

    And don’t get me started on commentators saying, “he shouldn’t drop this”. Wrong. He just did.

    Some of the umpiring has been horrendous
    Really bad! Have you noticed this? I reckon it’s only been in this last week that I’ve seen an umpire on the ground give a batsman out run out without referring it upstairs.

    Earlier in the season, there was a game in which a batsman had passed the stumps by the time the bails lit up, yet it was still referred to the third umpire. Not two overs later, a batsman was so far out of his ground that he didn’t show up in the frame. And the umpire still sent it upstairs!

    I’m still reasonably convinced it’s all very deliberate, and it’s done for two reasons.

    Firstly, it adds to the drama and the theatre of the game. Another 60 seconds of analysis, replays, discussion, loud music, kids dancing, the ground announcer pleading ‘what do you think – insert team name here – fans? Make some N-O-I-S-E!!’, then activity on the scoreboard… OUT!

    Secondly, and rugby league fans will recognise this as the phenomena their commentators refer to as ‘chicken time’, when an obviously clear decision is still sent upstairs just so that the scoreboard sponsor gets more air time – who just happens to be the supplier of free paper-bucket headwear in the BBL, too.

    Coincidence? I don’t think so…

    Some of the bowling has been horrendous
    I’ve commented before on the intelligence of bowlers, or the lack thereof. I’m not going to be partisan in this area.

    How many times have you heard Ricky Ponting in commentary say, “why is he bowling there?” this summer? A captain will bring backward square up into the circle, only for dunderhead bowler to dig the next ball in short on middle and leg?

    Batsman can’t believe his luck, rocks back, and simply has to decide whether to take the easy four, or go for glory and put it fifteen rows back.

    I reckon that’s happened two or three times a game, and it feels more often when teams bowling second suddenly find themselves under the pump.

    Is it a skill thing? Is it a communication thing? I don’t know, but like it players at this level dropping absolute sodas in the field, you can only be bemused.

    Usman Khawaja

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    And there has been some bog-ordinary shot selection, too, to be fair. You only have to look at some of the Brisbane Heat dismissals on Thursday night to see that stupidity isn’t always limited to bowlers.

    Current BBL07 table

    The Brisbane Heat are doing their best to make my latest top four predictions silly, falling in a massive heap against the Sydney Sixers on Thursday night. It means the Big Bash League table looks this way.

    ADELAIDE 12, PERTH 12, HOBART 10, MELBOURNE RENEGADES 8; Brisbane 8, Sydney Sixers 6, Sydney Thunder 6, Melbourne Stars 2.

    Upcoming games

    SATURDAY DOUBLE HEADER – GAME 33: Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder, MCG: I don’t know, how do you possibly pick a winner in this game? The Stars – Glenn Maxwell, mainly – are trying to come good, but their bowling hasn’t been great and the batting not much better.

    The Thunder – Usman Khawaja aside – aren’t much better, as their table position shows. Actually, their table position is perfectly illustrative; occasionally competitive, but generally off the pace. As for the Stars, it all depends which team turns up.

    Usman Khawaja

    (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

    Tip – Flip a coin, folks. Mine has come down… Stars.

    SATURDAY DOUBLE HEADER – GAME 34: Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes, the WACA: This game was always going to be Hobart’s biggest test on their run home, and there is no better way of finding out if they’re a top four team than by beating a top two team.

    The Hurricanes’ winning streak came to an end in Adelaide, but they’re still playing pretty well, and are capable. The Scorchers, on the other hand, are a known entity at this point of the BBL. And they’re still coping with unavailability stupidly well.

    Tip – I think the Hurricanes are peaking nicely, but there’s no way the Scorchers will say farewell to the WACA with anything other than a win.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (40)

    • January 20th 2018 @ 4:21am
      Dexter The Hamster said | January 20th 2018 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      I think your “flip a coin” approach to picking a winner is pretty handy. I’d take a 50% winning strike rate at this point.

      And the umpiring has been ordinary. Not just on run outs, but they seem very keen to not give LBW’s, even when they seem obvious. Is there a directive to err on the side of the batsman, just so we can see some higher scores??

      • Columnist

        January 20th 2018 @ 8:25am
        Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        Dexter, I’m about 50% in the tips I gave thought to anyway, so I figure flipping a coin can’t be any worse!

        As for umpiring, who knows what’s at play? Some of it has been truly baffling, hasn’t it…

        • Roar Guru

          January 20th 2018 @ 10:03am
          Scott Pryde said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          Umpiring is a reasonably difficult job guys…

          • Columnist

            January 20th 2018 @ 10:08am
            Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            No doubt Scott, but I’m sure you’ve seen the same thing everyone else has this BBL. If you can’t see that a batsman is two metres short of his ground, I’m not sure you should be umpiring at this level…

      • January 21st 2018 @ 3:59am
        Broken-hearted Toy said | January 21st 2018 @ 3:59am | ! Report

        Or wides.

    • January 20th 2018 @ 9:34am
      Bob said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      On the flip side the standard of the commentary has been excellent. Mel and Lisa are great additions as well.

      • Columnist

        January 20th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        To be fair Bob, Mel and Lisa have been involved for several years now…

        • Roar Guru

          January 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am
          JamesH said | January 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          They could lift the standard of the commentary even further if they just get rid of the Bowlologist.

    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2018 @ 10:04am
      Scott Pryde said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      What I took from that is that the BBL has been good but it’s also been horrendous and for goodness sake, when is the season going to end? Adding those two extra games was a dumber than dumb idea.

      • Columnist

        January 20th 2018 @ 10:10am
        Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Yeah, there’s a bit of that about it, Scott. Sadly, all the talk suggests it will only get longer, not shorter…

    • January 20th 2018 @ 11:45am
      KingCowboy said | January 20th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      Is it true that if Perth make the Finasl they are playing at the new stadium?

      • Columnist

        January 20th 2018 @ 12:06pm
        Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        It is indeed, King. There has been talk of the crowd being capped at 40K for the mid-week semi, but there has also been suggestion that they won’t at all.

        Either way, it’ll be a bigger crowd that at the WACA!

        • January 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm
          KingCowboy said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          I think having a bouncy WACA pitch has been a massive advantage for Perth over the years. Think it was last year were Mitch J was almost unplayable in the finals and knocked over the top order against both teams. Hopefully the new ground has a pitch keeps that kind of bounce (highly doubt it with drop in pitchers)

    • January 20th 2018 @ 12:09pm
      ethan said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

      When Heat bowler Gannon appeared at a function of his old high school he basically said the players treated it like a big party, so its no wonder we see so much poor fielding, and so little thought go into some of the bowling. The international tourists who go from country to country earning the big bucks to bowl 4 overs a game or have a bit of a swing with the bat are undoubtedly talented players, but would appear to have very little motivation or desire to bring their best competitiveness. McCullum spends half his time on the microphone just chit chatting and cracking jokes. I don’t mind this attitude from the commentators – they are far more listenable than the ch. 9 crew and Ricky Ponting is superb – but it adds a level of distraction. The constant music at the ground would only enhance this, and it must be rather hard to take anything seriously when you’re surrounded by 20,000 people wearing KFC buckets on their head. All this is why the Big Bash has failed to really take my interest. It’s great for the kids and its semi interesting to have on the TV in the background, but if the players can’t even take it seriously, why should I?

      It seems only the Scorchers have really brought the right mentality to the game for a consistent period of years.

      • January 20th 2018 @ 4:45pm
        Bilbo said | January 20th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

        Have to agree with all you have said

        I love my cricket, but rarely get to a BBL game. I did on Tuesday and had some greats seats at the Stars game that enabled me to be dazzled by cheerleading? Then there is the fireworks and the non stop music between each and every ball. Plenty of overweight dads and obese kids with buckets on their head. It really is a bastardised version of the sport and it does make me a little sad that the game has to sell itself out to attract a certain demographic

        • January 21st 2018 @ 7:32am
          marfu said | January 21st 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

          Good points and well made. I went to the Gabba recently but only lasted until half time before having to concede defeat to the incessantly annoying ground announcer’s rantings on a PA system so loud that I could not hear my mate sitting right beside me. I am just okay with having music between overs but don’t see the need for it between each ball but I suppose they can’t take the chance that the lowest common denominator will get bored in that 20 seconds!

    • January 20th 2018 @ 1:10pm
      DaveJ said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      Just by way of mentioning zing bails, does anyone know why run outs and stumpings are being judged on the point when the bails light up? It was pointed out during the latest SA-India Test that the law says a player is run out if he is out if ground if “a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps”. There is nothing that says it is to be judged at the point when the bail is hit or leaves the groove so it can only be judged at the point when it is completely separated, as in the law. Do the zing bails only light up when completely separated? Doesnt look like it. Or have I missed something in the laws?

      In the case in point, Pujara was judged to be out of his ground when part of the bail was still touching the stump and despite minutes of replays the third ump didn’t focus on the first frame showing complete separation, by which time the bat had slid past the popping crease. So he seemed to get it wrong. And was curiously shown studying the law book soon after, highly suspicious!

      • Columnist

        January 20th 2018 @ 4:52pm
        Brett McKay said | January 20th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        Dave, I’m sure there would be playing conditions in any tournament or series that uses the zing bails, that says as soon as they light up, the bail is considered dislodged.

        Cricket has had enough technicalities in recent times!!

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