May 3rd, 2013, from a statement from Cricket Australia, “The Big Bash League (BBL) will become a tighter competition over the next 5 years, starting later in December and concluding earlier in the new year.
July 22nd, 2013. Cricket Australia release the 2013/14 BBL fixture (see here). The 2013/14 BBL will span 58 days, up from 44 days the 2012/13 competition ran for.
The fourth and fifth Tests will be played in conjunction with the BBL. Probably not too bad a result given Sheffield Shield cricket looks like being played right up until the end of the 3rd Test. But then that’s it. Australia will fly out for a 3 Test series in South Africa after all its players have taken part in either two months of the T20 franchise based game, or the One Day International series against England.
The T20 tail is wagging the cricketing dog. But what shape is the 20 over format in? Channel 10 have paid $100 million for 5 seasons of exclusive coverage of the BBL. The BBL in both its current and former state based format has been an excellent performer for Fox Sports. But does that translate into free-to-air eyeballs? Do kids these days really like watching manufactured teams with stupid nicknames play in awful fluorescent colours. Personally I have chosen to follow the Melbourne Stars, because they play at the MCG and not at the soulless Etihad Stadium. And because Warney signed on for them. But there is no passion. I don’t care whether they win or lose. This wasn’t the case when the Victoria Bushrangers played in the BBL. Or when they play in the other formats. Sport is all about passion, and people have been following Victoria since 1851. It means something when they play. Hopefully for cricket’s sake the BBL is a success on Channel 10. There’s a long way to go given the dismal crowds the ‘second’ teams in NSW and Victoria, the Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Renegades attract at their unpopular venues in ANZ Stadium and Etihad Stadium. While the other 6 teams attract crowds at their venues that the 6 state teams would surely have still been able to muster . The Sri Lankan Premier (T20) League has folded. The Bangladesh T20 competition still hasn’t paid several players from its last season.
Who is the biggest cancer in Australian cricket, S.R. Watson or Twenty20? Or are they both equally as destructive? English (even the South African and Irish ones) players have played the shortest format for longer than us. Australian cricket is as low as it has ever been. Re-organising the structure of an Aussie cricketing Summer should be a huge priority. I still stand behind the ideas expressed in this article- http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/re-organising-the-cricket-schedule/ Test and Sheffield Shield cricket need to be the major, serious part of the Summer schedule. Compare the massive interest in this Ashes tour against the ODI’s to follow, the IPL or the last BBL.
For a final word on Cricket Australia’s announcement of the 2013/14 BBL fixtures just one day after our embarrassing loss in the second Test, this brilliant article by fantastic young Cricinfo writer Brydon Coverdale is well worth a read- click here.