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Shounak

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Joined June 2020

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That was an interesting piece mate. Well done!
Another name to consider is Amjad Khan. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and is of Pakistani descent. He played 1 test for England; however his performance was mediocre. But the fascinating thing is that Amjad still remains the only Denmark born cricketer to play test cricket in history.
Also look up Ole Mortensen. He was also of Danish descent, but unfortunately never got to play a Test match. His County record on the other hand is stellar though. He was one of the best & most hostile bowlers in that era. Played 157 first class games and took 434 wickets at an average of 23.88!

The best Test XI born outside Test-playing nations

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for your comment mate! When I wrote the article, I was thinking about it from a domestic Australian perspective but you are right. A Trans-Tasman model will work as well, although from a eyeballs perspective, NZ brings in only 5 million people compared to PNG’s 9 million. On the flip side, the Kiwis will provide world class competition to the Aussies, so the quality of the combined tournament will improve.
Not sure though how much of an appetite there is in NZ for a Trans-Tasman competition. Their board has not even bothered to set up a franchise T20 competition! Its the same with rugby, as even though Kiwis are the best at it, they still rely massively on TV money generated by South Africa, due to Saffers having a 10 times higher population.
Your idea is good but the problem with viewer fatigue still remains due to 61 games. Plus, all that extra travelling (crisscrossing the Tasman Sea) will be really taxing on the players, if the tournament needs to be fit in a short window. We at Perth Scorchers had a crazy travel schedule last year, due to the condensed format.
If the Kiwis are involved, it is a crazy 8 hour flight for us Sandgropers to Auckland 😁
😁

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

We can surely have both though right. I grant that it’s tricky to get this balance right but surely CA can at least try. They are going so hard in the profit direction, that they are raising a big middle finger to quality ????. They are not even pretending a little bit.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Thanks mate!

Yeah 100% agree. I also find the repetitive loud music blasting after every 4 or 6 quite annoying too. But as to your comment, I think that we can focus BOTH on quality and entertainment. There does not necessarily need to be a trade off between the two. Both CPL and PSL are also entertainment products at their heart; but they are also respected as serious cricket competitions. Precisely because the boards treat them & respect them as such. I think that CA initially were overwhelmed by the success & ratings of BBL, got greedy and wanted to extract as much revenue as they could out of the concept. In doing so, they lost sight of their original objectives. Trust me, even if you are not a T20 fan watch a couple of those PSL & CPL games. They feel much more serious & natural in comparison to the gimmick heavy BBL.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

You are making too much sense I am afraid. Too much for the CA to actually bother to listen to you haha!!

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Thanks for your comment, but I think that you are being a bit too pessimistic.
I was thinking the situation more from the broadcast perspective rather than from gate receipts perspective, at least when it comes to Townsville. Don’t know where you got your data from, but PNG have been an ICC Associate member since 1973 (not 3 years ago as you mention). They have been playing the sport since the 1900’s. So, they have plenty of history. Also did you read the part in my article where I said that their school cricket program is the largest in the East Asia Pacific, with the 2020 BSP School Kriket program reaching an estimated 1.5 million kids.
This is the scene that greeted them at Port Moresby airport upon their return from qualifying for the T20 World Cup. (https://twitter.com/ICC/status/1191271556401393664)
Does it look that there is no interest in cricket?
Yes I am fully aware that Rugby league is the national sport in PNG and Football is the national sport in Vanuatu. But I have listened to interviews with PNG players, who themselves have said that cricket is possibly the no2 or no3 sport in PNG and likewise in Vanuatu. Also, PNG have played plenty of times in Townsville before, at the Riverway stadium, which has a capacity of 10,000 people.
Also, I don’t think that the disparity is that huge between associate cricket and full member cricket to be honest, especially on a T20 level. It is the arrogance & ignorance of Full Member nations & their spectators which contribute to associate stars not getting enough chances to showcase their skills. A lot of the Dutch associate players that I mentioned above have managed to get county contracts. Plus, if you want to talk about potential stars, maybe check out the likes of Norman Vanua, Assad Vala, Nosaina Pokana and Charles Amini. Oh btw, did I mention that their fielding is also one of the best in international cricket. Maybe have a read of this article by Peter Della Penna about PNG (https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/27980435/papua-new-guinea-rise-associate-cricket-heroes)

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Dunno about Gold Coast mate. I think that Gold Coast is actually a graveyard for sporting franchises, as the sort of people that go to GC are going for the partying, drinking or the theme parks rather than to watch sports. The AFL and NRL get ok crowds to turn up, but then again that’s during the winter, when outdoor activities are a tad more limited. Not sure, if cricket is the right fit for GC. BBL is meant to be a family friendly product, I rather that the 10th franchise is based in Townsville (which has a history of hosting cricket fixtures) rather than GC. Yep, regarding Canberra, its a no brainer. They 100% deserve their own BBL franchise.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Thanks for the compliment mate!
BTW, would the logistics and cost of a combined pacific island team really be prohibitive though?
Port Moresby in PNG isn’t that far away from QLD. It is a mere 3 hour plane ride away from Brisbane. And that is why I was mentioning that you base the combined Pacific Islands Team in Townsville, in order to avoid overseas travel. Plus, both Vanuatu and PNG have been COVID-19 free even before NZ reached that status.
Also, by including the Pacific team, you are opening yourself up to a potential broadcast market of more than 9 million. So, you can win a get a lot of eyeballs watching the BBL comp, which is what CA ultimately want. More and more people watching.
Regarding NZ, I think that its even less plausible mate. NZ has enough talent that it cannot be condensed into 1 team, unless you want to basically include the Black Caps in BBL. Also, its a long way away from Perth or Adelaide. I rather prefer a Pacifika option rather than the inclusion of a Kiwi franchise. Also, imagine how many indigenous kids a good Pacifika team would inspire to pick up the sport in Australia. As currently, too many Aboriginal kids go onto playing AFL or NRL rather than cricket.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

What I am concerned about though is that the locked broadcast deal lasts until 2024-25. I get that cricket is much more popular in Australia than rugby, so it won’t disappear. BUT still, keeping the BBL games to 61 games until 2024-25 is a recipe for disaster. Surely, COVID-19 gives CA a chance to re-negotiate the broadcast deal with Foxtel & Channel 7.

If it was me in charge, I would urgently re-design the competition and sign a reduced broadcast deal, rather than risk a dramatic slump in BBL popularity. As if that happens, CA won’t get a good broadcast amount from Foxtel or Channel 7, if that happens anyway.

Regarding the gimmicks, people are smart enough to distinguish between quality entertainment and cheap entertainment. Having so many of those in a game cheapens the end product and risks putting BBL on the level of trash reality TV shows.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Bad choice by the CA! They seem clueless.

Listen CA, BBL will always fail to hit the heights of 2014-2017, unless you reduce the number of games per season. Go back to 10 per team rather than the current 14, as it means that there is more riding on each game. Sometimes less is more! These cosmetic alterations are not going to do a damn thing except making the tournament even more gimmicky and sillier than it already is! Focus on the actual cricket for gods sakes. BBL needs to learn from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), who have a distinctive product and have built millions and millions in new global audiences every year! CA got greedy by increasing the games and trying to cash in on the TV deals.

Change could kill the BBL golden goose

On another note, yes I definitely remember the ICL & its shenanigans. That must have been a great experience for you, all those years ago in India! BCCI back then was was pretty financially poor indeed, but Dalmiya helped turn it around. He slowly built up a substantial cash reserve for Indian cricket. Later on IPL ratcheted things up even further.
Unfortunately, IMO India has now become way too dominant financially and often act to the detriment of world cricket! But that is another story in itself haha!

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Wow! That was a very substantive response mate. Thanks, I learned a lot from it. A lot of these developing countries should have sports broadcasters already though; not for cricket but for their national sports which is most often football (soccer). I totally understand your point that they might not be willing to invest in cricket due to unfamiliarity with cricket & the amount of investment required. So, if that leaves us with streaming as the only option, is it possible then to sell those streams to mainstream broadcasters for very little and get good cricket exposure that way.

I say this because ECL are taking this option. Their broadcast quality is top notch & on par with international cricket; and they are trying to give those rights away for free to other broadcasters to get that FTA coverage. Catalan TV3 even provided commentary in their language. So its still possible but you need a visionary & smart investor to pull it off i guess.

Regarding WICB, agree again mate! But they suffer from a myriad of problems. The ICC distribution model does not help plus they have so much petty politics going on due to it being a joint effort by 10+ countries. That said though, CPL has been a pretty good success so far. They even stopped playing games at weird times for Indian audiences, preferring to focus on the domestic market instead.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks for your kind comment mate.
That is so interesting, appreciate you sharing your experience and background with us. I definitely hear you that times have changed and that unfortunately, international cricket might be going in a pay TV / streaming direction; but I wonder if it is just a developed country thing or if its happening worldwide?
Being of Indian heritage, I personally know that cable TV is really cheap in India and even though streaming services such as Hotstar have taken off; the vast majority of people rely on games on cable & free to air TV to watch their favourite teams. I would imagine that this is the same all across the developing world, where widespread access to technology & streaming services is in its infancy. Continents like Africa and South East Asia, where cricket has a lot of potential to grow further. So, maybe then the strategy adopted by the associate cricket boards need to be flexible and be in tune with the economic conditions of the country. If streaming is widespread, yep makes sense to showcase your cricket there. But for poorer Associate countries such as Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Kenya, Nigeria, free to air TV is probably still the better option.
Plus, in Europe, they are thinking about putting the Rugby 6 Nations tournament behind a paywall; but this has been met with a huge outcry from the general public. The games in 6 Nations get 10+ million views on channels like BBC & Channel 4 in the UK. So Free to Air TV still has some life left in it.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks for the kind comments mate! Yeah, streaming will work even less in rural Australia, as there are many areas just 50-60 km from Perth that don’t have reliable mobile networks or internet. I imagine that it is the same around other major cities as well. So, if cricket was only available to stream, you will be depriving a lot of rural Australians from watching it. Surely, that is the fastest way of killing off country cricket clubs! You need at least some form of coverage on mainstream FTA channels for the sport to survive anywhere.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

But how many of those 71% Australians are watching sport though? I bet that it includes things like subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Stan, Netflix etc. I personally know a lot of people that have those things to watch the movies, TV series & documentaries; but for sport they are watching FTA sport and cannot be bothered shelling out extra money to watch sport on Pay TV and Streaming services. I think that we have to be very careful when evaluating data like this and not let your personal experiences guide you into thinking that its the same for everyone.

I discussed the future of streaming in my article. The amount of money that they are providing to sign sports rights is often at the same level or even lower than what Pay TV companies are giving out.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks for your kind words Camo!
I already had big doubts about the feasibility of the Euro T20 Slam and I think that the COVID-19 situation has probably killed off this concept for good. Yep, ECL were supposed to expand to 16 teams this year with clubs from England, Scotland & Ireland, but even though COVID-19 pushed it back by 1 year, I am sure that they will be back with a bang in 2021! The ECL also keeps signing new countries up! I saw a press release by them which said that Greece & Croatia will be involved from 2022. So, they have grand plans & I am confident that they will pull it off.
Have to fully agree with you, regarding the actions of ECB. Just removing all trace of cricket from FTA amounts to criminal negligence IMO. Also, they indeed have treated their European neighbours with contempt. Associate cricket standards have risen in leaps and bounds; so ECB have a golden chance now to create a bi-annual 4 nations T20 Tournament involving their North Sea neighbours. I think that if marketed well, this will be a cracking competition, in a similar vein to the bi-ennial Asia Cup.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks mate!

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks for your feedback and the comment mate!

Agree that COVID-19 has seriously complicated things for a lot of boards financially. However, in both ECB & CA’s case, the damage seems to be self-inflicted. ECB blew their cash reserves on “The Hundred” precisely because they are concerned about falling cricket participation in UK, due to lack of FTA coverage. CA made the boneheaded decision to put their savings into the stock market.

What im trying to argue in the article is that while pay tv cash seems important now to manage the crisis, it will be a short sighted decision with serious adverse consequences later on.

In any case, I understand that finances are finite. That is why I proposed a hybrid (FTA, Pay TV & Streaming) model for established cricket nations. So you get some cash from subscription providers, but you also maintain some form of FTA mainstream coverage for cricket. ECB’s decision to put every cricket game behind a paywall has been disastrous; so other boards simply cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes!

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks Bob. Glad that you enjoyed it & learnt something from it. We as fans, need to be on CA’s back constantly. They better not put more games behind a paywall. ECB’s experience with Sky should act as a deterrent.

As regards to the ECB, it was Giles Clarke who was primarily responsible for making English cricket go behind a paywall. He was also one of the primary architects of the BIG 3 takeover in 2014. A thoroughly short sighted, greedy and detestable man. It seems incredible that the 2019 World Cup Final was the only live free to air cricket game shown in the UK in 14 years! Highlights packages on BBC or C4 at odd times, just don’t cut it.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum

Thanks Marcus. I think that CA did a disservice by putting ODI cricket & T20 cricket behind a paywall. Well, still at least the Tests, some Big Bash games & Aussie World Cup games remain on FTA, so I guess that we have to be grateful for that. But we would have to fight hard to maintain this. CA better not make cricket disappear altogether from FTA.

Investigating cricket’s broadcast conundrum