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Trans-Tasman shake-up: Cairns calls for NZ teams to be added to BBL

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1st February, 2022
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Kiwi cricket legend Chris Cairns wants New Zealand teams added to the Big Bash League to intensify the trans-Tasman rivalry and revamp the Australian competition.

The former Black Caps all-rounder has proposed for one of two New Zealand-based teams to be brought into the BBL which would “raise the quality of the tournament” which has been under fire in recent years over its lack of star talent.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, the 51-year-old former star who represented his nation 279 times in the international arena, suggested it was a restraint of trade for Kiwi players to be considered imports in the BBL.

Cairns said it would not be an overnight move but consideration should be given to his proposal.

“It’s worth looking at what New Zealand’s future could be in the southern hemisphere’s premier Twenty20 tournament. I reckon plenty of people would welcome the presence of a New Zealand team or two; no different to the Warriors in the NRL,” he wrote.

“Some will argue New Zealand already has a T20 tournament, courtesy of the Super Smash, and the Black Caps making the final of the World Cup last year means we’re doing just fine, thank you.”

New Zealand left-hander Colin Munro starred for the Perth Scorchers in their title-winning campaign this season while the likes of Black Caps legends Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum have been signed as imports in previous years.

“I find it intriguing New Zealanders in Australia play with an overseas designation for a Big Bash team,” Cairns added.

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“Given New Zealanders can generally cross the Tasman to work with and alongside Australians in any form of employment, why can’t cricketers ply their trade in a similar fashion? Surely the law of labour trumps the law of cricket? This restraint of trade has yet to face a legal challenge by any New Zealand player. Why couldn’t those good enough to play in the Big Bash simply do so, like Kiwi league players in the NRL?

“The cream of New Zealand talent playing in the Big Bash – obviously when not on national duty – would raise the quality of the tournament. They would only be taking the place of the weakest Australians.”

Cairns was known as one of the most dynamic players during his career from 1989-2004 and would have been a valuable commodity in the Twenty20 era.

He nearly lost his life last August when he suffered a heart attack and then a spinal stroke after emergency surgery for a torn artery.

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