Any concerns about Steve Smith’s form, fitness and ability to adapt to a new batting role have evaporated over the past three weeks as the former Australian skipper has made a sparkling return to high level cricket.
So the Big Bash is set for season three, with a new five-year TV deal with Channel Ten that will see every game shown live.
It’s a great start and will provide the opportunity to gain more viewers and get into more homes.
Here are my five suggestions on how to further increase interest in the competition.
1. Increase overseas players eligible to play in a match to three per team
For the first two seasons we have seen some of the biggest international players like Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Shahid Afridi and Keiron Pollard.
These players can bring crowds in off their own bat, there is a limit on two overseas players playing for one side every game, the IPL has a limit of four players and that has helped the IPL become such a big hit.
If we want more people to go to games then give them the best chance of seeing these superstars who people may only ever be able to see once live in their lifetime.
2. Increase the salary cap limit
Currently the limit is $1 million, put in place so that it can help create equal sides and give teams the best chance of getting an even spread of quality players.
Why not increase it to $1.3 million so that it does become more realistic to have enough overseas players so they can field three quality players per side every match?
It can also help keep players at teams and possibly stop them from jumping for more money.
3. Schedule the big games when there is nothing on or near the day the game is on
As evidenced from the first two seasons of the Big Bash, the Melbourne derby between the Stars and Renegades at the MCG has attracted crowds in the mid 40,000s, which is great.
They had it on a week after the Melbourne Test, and because England will be here next year it is important to schedule the games that are likely to draw crowds around this.
Don’t have a Renegades game on at Etihad Stadium on the night before or after the first ODI game between Australia and England in Melbourne.
It may be wiser to put Perth home games on days when Australia is playing because of the eastern time zone and more chance of people tuning in to watch on TV.
The A-league fixture list is out so it would be wise to avoid going into competition with games on match days with them.
In season one they had Victory vs Newcastle and Stars vs Renegades on the same night, the Big Bash game got the higher crowd but it could have been bigger if it was different.
4. Have Australian players available to play at least three games for their Big Bash side
Now this may be the hardest one of all but the Australian public want to see the best play the best and they deserve it.
This is harder to do because of the Ashes already being scheduled, but for summers ahead have a window of opportunity for all of the national players to be available to play for their side at least three regular season games.
Think of Patto opening the bowling to Gayle, Malinga bowling to Warner and Finch facing Siddle. These are the type of matchups that will start to get people regularly interested in attending matches.
Michael Clarke has not even played one Big Bash game and he is the national captain, Cricket Australia would benefit from just having their captain play and give back to his state and team Sydney Thunder, who didn’t win a game last season
5. Keep the prices low with gifts so the people come
I know last season the Big Bash tickets were not too bad but they need to keep it low and give out things that people may actually keep.
The schedule is around Christmas/New Years and goes into January on school holidays so keep them low to encourage parents to bring their kids.
Handing out something like soft cricket balls with their team logo or a team poster to people as they go in may prove more fun for the kids that they may use after the match at home, rather than blow up sticks that end up getting popped or causing parents headaches at home from their children playing with them.
I’m sure adults would be more interested in a poster then two blow up plastic sticks.
I hope these and other ideas get considered for the future of the Big Bash league to get more interest in it.