#BigBash03 – Are we there yet?

Prior to the inaugural Big Bash I wrote for Inside Sport bemoaning what appeared to be an unnecessarily vapid reworking of cricket’s six o’clock swill.

Until now I’ve held my fire; Australia’s already burgeoning Twenty/20 domestic competition warranted at least a few rounds before completely dissing the new brew.

Three years later I’ll admit my line on Cricket Australia’s strategy to attract new devotees and rupees to the game has shifted, a little.

Commercially speaking, free-to-air coverage on Ten is a giant leap forward and the live atmosphere excellent, bar Australian sport’s black hole (ANZ Stadium) which has devoured far bigger sporting outfits than Sydney Blunder.  A summer TV smorgasbord of unimaginable dross has catapulted KFC Cricket to ratings gold, enhancing the profile of a show employing an odd assemblage of the game’s past, present and future.

Who would have predicted more watching made-up crash and bash lineups at the ‘G than an ODI versus the Old Enemy?  Though it should also be noted Australia’s original Twenty/20’s incarnation saw the Bushrangers pull 43,000 punters v Tassie at a fraction of the marketing spend.

And therein lays the crux of Big Bash’s failing for those shackled by a cricket appreciation at or exceeding Ten’s man for all seasons Sandy (sic) Maher.  An integral element of any successful ongoing sport enterprise is a greater than Kardashian care factor for the result, and a reasonable point of difference with the teams. Dumbing allegiances down to fluoro colours and stadiums eliminates a sector of cricket traditionalists who want to like Twenty/20.  And never mind the unrepresented country folk, as forgotten as a forward defence.

As I remarked in my original rant, the KFC Big Bash was already finger lickin’ good; this offering forsook the secret herbs and spices for a cheesy vindaloo.

But my (target demographic) six-year-old loves it, and thoroughly enjoyed attending a Stars v Renegades clash at the MCG.  Box ticked.  Notwithstanding Mitch Johnson equally fast tracked his love of cricket this Ashes series, as DK Lillee did mine.

There is actually much to like about #BigBash03, despite the lame brained celebrity circus exhibits as likely to catch the ball for their home viewer as Jesus coming on and bowling a maiden over (left arm orthodox).  Tommy Raudonikis, I mean, Christ on a bike!

Seeing the likes of Lee, Mike Hussey, Katich, and Brads Hogg and Hodge demonstrating their class into their late 30’s and beyond is most gratifying.  And if you like Stick Cricket the action is undeniably addictive.

But the ‘super over’ method of untying a draw (Sixers v Scorchers last Friday) surely ranks as the silliest conclusion to a game ever witnessed at the SCG. Only the Scorchers’ superb ‘death’ bowler Yasir Arafat mitigated a farce that would have appalled the East Yackandandah U/10’s coach.   Steve Smith’s ramp shot to the first ball of the Sixers’ super over – Christ on a trike!  And that was after an interminable delay whilst the Pinkies retreated to their war room to calmly plot a scheme which gleaned one measly run.  Then, after another interminable delay as Brett Lee picked his ball, followed by a procrastinated warm-up routine, it was all over after just one delivery – match sticks prising eyes apart simultaneously giving way around the nation.

A successful Ashes conquest also whitewashed the matter of scheduling the Big Bash during a critical home test series, being the inability to draw upon red ball cricketers with current form. Had the Ashes gone the other way there’d have been hell to pay.

Like most fast food, Big Bash is a guilty pleasure.  It beats Megafactories or Come Date with Me.  It’s cricket, just not as we knew it – and if it gets my kids outside playing then I’ll bite my tongue and eat a small piece of humble pie.

Dipper at the Big Bash
It’s a living…

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.


  1. Well said Jeff, and I too am coming around to this competition. BUT is there any danger of actually just enjoying the game in front of us? The senses are constantly bombarded with external and irrelevant nonsense;
    3 ‘full-time’ commentators on air (what happened to just two? CH9 has some explaining to do) trying to out-talk/joke/put-down each other
    On air crosses to anyone within a 3 mile radius – coaches, players, ‘celebrities’ on a platform – being asked the most inane questions, that garnish responses straight from Cliche 101 School
    Cross promoting of upcoming mid-numbing channel 10 shows
    Rexona ring-ins – don’t ask
    C -Bus innings builders – don’t ask, I haven’t a clue either
    Pitch maps of every ball bowled/received in BBL history! (spoiler alert – the short and wide ones go for plenty and yorkers are good)
    Flames, fireworks and loud noise

  2. Like the AFL (or tennis) on Seven, best watched with the sound down low Magnets.

    And so far as the bits in between play, to be honest I’m too mesmerised by Mel McLaughlin to actually take in anything that’s being said in any case.

  3. It is SIR Yasir Arafat GW (Golden Wombat); EIEIO (Excellent Iron Ore Introduction Officer) to you vapid East Coast smartarses.
    Sir Yasir’s performance against the Sixers; together with Baron Behrendorff’s opening spell; and Sucker Smith’s ludicrous ramp shot are my highlights of the cricket season.
    Far eclipsing the worthy but comparatively sterile deeds of St Mitch and St Christopher.

    From BB#4 there will be a double or nothing Extra Over Extravaganza offer to captains in all games. Extravaganza Over runs count double so you can make up a narrow margin in a tight game. Like in those movies where you think the villain is dead; but he keeps coming back again to drag out the popcorn consumption.

    It is easy to see what heathens you East Coasters are. Jesus converted from left arm Orthodox, and hurled down plenty of short, quick stuff at the Rabbinical Renegades.
    They had him rubbed out for good, for a bent elbow and a dodgy action that wouldn’t even register on the Murali Meter of today.
    Scorcher Pete

  4. Jeff,
    Mel McLaughlin could be the greatest thing ever to happen to television in Australia.
    Or has the already been said on the BBL telecast?

  5. If it hasn’t been said I’m sure Mark Waugh was thinking it Smokie (a few hundred times a game)!

  6. JD,
    Interesting ponderables thrown up there. Well thrown.
    So far I’ve not seen a second of twenty20 footage in my puff. And I’m fairly delighted to keep it that way.
    The watching of any sport is an investment of not only time, but also of care, empathy, and (sometimes) passion.
    Twenty20 remains a contrived circus of carni behavior to me. Roll up, roll up.
    After spending five Tests with the real deal, I’m not that keen to spend time with the bearded lady.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Getting the BBL onto free to air has been a huge win for CA. Everyone I know who didn’t/ doesn’t have foxtel is watching it and loving it.
    I was an avid watcher of the old state based T20 and went to several games at the ‘G and a sold out game at Kardinia Park. I’m yet to be convinced the state based format wouldn’t have been as big or bigger on free to air. An ACT team could have rounded out the competition. With Test players away 8 teams is a big stretch on the playing depth.
    Of course being a big cricket fan I still watch it a lot now, especially the two Melbourne teams. But have little passion for either. Probably lean towards the Stars as they play at the MCG and not at Etihad, and have more Bushrangers in their ranks.
    Haven’t attended a game since the franchises were brought in, thinking about taking my two boys to the Stars game on Tuesday night. I’m sure they’ll love it. As they would have if it was Victoria playing. Navy blue looks so much better than fluro green. Except in footy season.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I follow it and have attended games but with no real passion if it was the redbacks and players playing for there own state not franchise my care factor would rise 100 per cent but to get the numbers attending and the TV audience watching domestic cricket you have to admit it is a huge success . Personally give me a shield game when I will no every person attending any day . Your scheduling point Jeff is spot on .
    Thanks Jeff

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