January 21, 2010

Bigger bash but what about baggy green?

More people are flocking to Australian domestic Twenty20 games than before and the board plans to cash in with an extravaganza that sounds a lot like the one in India
31

A funny thing has been happening this month: people have been going to domestic cricket in Australia. A lot of people. Last week, 43,125 turned up to the MCG to watch Victoria beat Tasmania in a Big Bash match. This wasn't the tournament final, you understand (that's this Saturday at the Adelaide Oval); it was just a regular Twenty20 game between two states. Fewer fans showed up for day three of the Boxing Day Test this summer.

By contrast, going to Sheffield Shield cricket at the MCG is like watching a school play at the Sydney Opera House - only family, friends, and a handful of curious onlookers bother showing up. A four-day game between the same sides at the same venue would be lucky to attract 1000 people a day, and you half expect the batsmen to be distracted by tumbleweeds rolling across the field.

It's not surprising that Cricket Australia is excited, for it is already planning a bigger Twenty20 tournament that will rewrite the way domestic cricket is played in Australia. For the 2011-12 season, Australia's Twenty20 tournament will not feature teams like Western Australia and Queensland. Those sides will be Perth and Brisbane. The six state capitals will field teams and there will be two extra sides, likely to be based in non-capital-city growth areas like Geelong or the Gold Coast or Newcastle.

A national draft is on the cards, meaning that a state icon like Brad Hodge, if he's still playing, could line up for Sydney instead of his beloved Victoria. Foreign players will be in the mix as well, although whether teams could choose any more than the current limit of two is undecided.

It all sounds suspiciously similar to another tournament that held a player auction this week, and while there are strong parallels the Bigger Bash, or whatever it's ultimately called, will never rival the IPL. For starters, the teams won't be privately owned in the beginning - the state cricket associations will run the city sides.

Mike McKenna, the general manager of marketing at Cricket Australia, is in charge of a working group looking at how to structure the new competition. He said franchising of teams could be a possibility in the future, but for the time being the aim was simply to build a club-like following among fans, similar to that seen in the Australian Football League or the National Rugby League, with the teams funnelling into the existing Champions League.

"The IPL has been one of the references," McKenna told Cricinfo. "We've looked more at Australian sport for an example of what's worked. There are plenty of good examples, we've got some fantastic professional sports leagues. We've got to get the foundations of the game right before we can even talk about private investment. Sport in Australia is not full of great successes in private investment.

"The IPL, one of the things they have is an unbelievable amount of money. We're never going to get that sort of money. It means we can't splash around the way they do. One of the things we will focus on is the quality of cricket in our teams. From year to year, hopefully our teams will do well at the Champions League and prove that it's a very good quality competition."

There's an argument that the Big Bash is already a high-quality tournament. New South Wales won the inaugural Champions League and so far this year, Big Bash crowds are up 80% and the television viewing audience is up 15% on last summer. But Cricket Australia wants the eight teams so it can not only push into parts of Australia where cricket is a massive participant sport without an elite presence, but also to expose more players to the top level.

For the 2011-12 season, Australia's Twenty20 tournament will not feature teams like Western Australia and Queensland. Those sides will be Perth and Brisbane. The six state capitals will field teams and there will be two extra sides, likely to be based in non-capital-city growth areas like Geelong or the Gold Coast or Newcastle

Of course, it's not that simple. Many questions are yet to be answered. With more elite positions up for grabs, will young players focus on winning a Twenty20 spot with the Gold Coast Gold-Diggers, and the IPL deals that could follow, rather than on breaking into their state's Sheffield Shield team? Cricket Australia's party line is that the baggy green will remain the ultimate goal for emerging players, but that's of little relevance if they have spent their junior years slogging sixes instead of building patient innings on difficult pitches.

When can it be played? If foreign stars and Australia's Test and ODI players are to take part, and Ricky Ponting believes that must happen for it to be a success, the options in peak holiday time are limited. Late January is a possibility but the scheduling raises another even more important question.

Will the Sheffield Shield be cut back to make way? Money and pizzazz aside, that's the question that could most shape the future of Australian cricket. Six teams play each other twice in the Sheffield Shield, which results in 10 first-class games a season and one of the most elite domestic competitions in the world. It's where the baggy-green stars are born, and if 10 matches becomes nine or eight or seven, then Australia's Test team cannot help but suffer.

"There's not actually a real problem at the moment," McKenna said. "We've done some modelling around it and the modelling is based around the principle that we keep the same number of Shield games we've got now. We see it as the pathway to the Australian cricket team.

"We're not looking to tinker with that too much. The reality is the season, when it's bookended by the Champions League at one end and the IPL at the other, and other sporting codes, that there's only so much time to play. So our expansion at the moment is based on that principle. If it changes, we have to be very careful how we handle that from a talent-development point of view."

For now, the details remain sketchy. But fans of domestic cricket in Australia should prepare for a big shake-up.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rob.ryan on January 24, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    -Zat- Sure the tickets are cheap but they need to be to get people in and build up some excitement about the competition, in a few years time when big crowds are regular and the general public closes anticipates and follows the results they may be able to raise them then. Having the prices high i'm sure would never even give people a chance to embrace the competition.

  • Soji_George on January 24, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    This is gonna be exciting .Its a fact that aussies have better domestic players than any other nation.I think a IPL look alike will boost the crciekt in that continent. Why dont they combine their efforts with including NewZealnd cricket . In the future I can see a lot of international stars turning out for the aussies side . Already the cricket fans aound the world are following the proceedings in the continent. GO AUSSIE GO.

  • vimal001 on January 24, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    AUSTRALIA SHOULD ORGANIJE BIGGERBASH AND INTRODUCE MORE TEAM TO CALL THE AUDIENCE. AT THE SAME TIME THEIR IS OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE EXPOSURE TO DOMESTIC PLAYERS OF INTERNATIONAL CRICKETERS . AUSTRALIA SHOULD MAKE WAY WITH THE PRESENT CRICKET SCENARIO. FRANCHISES SHOULD TALK TO THE AVAILABLE PLAYERS LIKE THEY DO THIS TIME .AND CONTINUE TO TALK TO THE CRICKETING NATIONS LIKE PAKISTAN BECAUSE THEY ARE QUALITY PLAYERS IN T20 AND AVAILABLE

  • Zat. on January 24, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    To go to the 'Big Bash' matches it costs $10 for an adult, $5 for a kid. The international ODI matches start at triple that for adults in Melbourne, and the cheapest ODI tickets in Sydney are $56. An adult ticket to the movies cost about $16. The Big Bash is cheap entertainment. And for some of the matches they gave away 20 000 or more tickets. That's the 80% increase in crowds covered. Sure, a lot of people went to it, but please cricinfo, present all the facts.

  • crackers134 on January 23, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    I am all for expanding the big bash but think CA is going down the wrong path with city franchises. The state teams have built their crowds up every year and most people who are cricket fans follow their state teams closely. So now we will be expected to follow Melbourne with New South Welshmen and Queenslanders in the team instead of Victoria? And to be passionate about a new franchise instead of our state teams, some of which have been playing for over 150 years? The Big Bash with state teams has grown every year and will continue to do so, especially if Australian test players are available to play. I would like to see the tournament expanded to a full round of home and away matches and would be happy to see new teams admitted eg. ACT, possibly North Qld, Northern NSW? The areas CA want to expand in (Gold Coast, West Sydney, Geelong) could host a couple of matches each season (eg. Qld play 2 home games on Gold Coast, Vic 2 in Geelong etc.). Cut FR Cup back to 5 matches each.

  • apaar.garg on January 23, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    i thnk that big bash is big bash it should not try to become ipl.

  • malibu77 on January 23, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    The Big Bash has good crowds as it is during school holidays, gets great media including tv coverage and the fixtures are publicised and promoted. Shield matches on the other hand are poorly promoted, the fixturing is poor, the season runs too long (there should be games every week through November and December) and the media gives it scant attention. Despite all of this there is great interest in the Shield competition - it just doesn't translate into crowd numbers.

  • prashnottz on January 23, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    I don't understand this "doomsday" call for the longer version whenever an article appears on the success of a T20 tournament. India won the T20 cup in 2007 and around the same time IPL kicked off. Everyone moaned then that test cricket would die in India. What happened thereafter is there to see. India rose from the middle rung to No.1 in test cricket. In fact not only they persuaded NZ to extend a test series by one more match but have actually gone against the FTP and accomodated 2 test matches by cancelling 3-4 ODIs against SA this year. While BCCI bashing is the in thing these days, such initiatives may well be conveniently forgotten, but fact is that with some maturity, both forms of the games can not only coexist but prosper together.

  • manikato1 on January 22, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    OK, here's how I think it should be run. Sheffield Shield to be run during October & November, with the final in early December. All games to be run from Friday-Monday. FRC games to be played on the Wednesday prior. Add 2 or 3 more teams, either Aus or NZ regions. Teams would meet each other once, giving 7 or 8 games each, plus a final. From there internationals take over, with a 5 game 1 day series played before Xmas, prior to the Tests, where I would have only 4 - Boxing Day in Melbourne, New Years in Sydney (ideally 4 day tests of 7.5 hours each, so Sydney gets the advantage of the New Year holiday, rather than starting on the 3rd as happened this year) and Adelaide around Australia Day, with 1 test rotating between Brisbane, Perth & (maybe) Hobart. Then the Big Bash would take up all of February, the same 8 or 9 domestic teams playing each other Home & away before Semi's & Final. Maybe also have FRC reverse games played during Int window, so Domestic players don't lose touch.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on January 22, 2010, 23:19 GMT

    am sure CA will make this BIG and like on field success will have lots to offer off the field too.

  • rob.ryan on January 24, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    -Zat- Sure the tickets are cheap but they need to be to get people in and build up some excitement about the competition, in a few years time when big crowds are regular and the general public closes anticipates and follows the results they may be able to raise them then. Having the prices high i'm sure would never even give people a chance to embrace the competition.

  • Soji_George on January 24, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    This is gonna be exciting .Its a fact that aussies have better domestic players than any other nation.I think a IPL look alike will boost the crciekt in that continent. Why dont they combine their efforts with including NewZealnd cricket . In the future I can see a lot of international stars turning out for the aussies side . Already the cricket fans aound the world are following the proceedings in the continent. GO AUSSIE GO.

  • vimal001 on January 24, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    AUSTRALIA SHOULD ORGANIJE BIGGERBASH AND INTRODUCE MORE TEAM TO CALL THE AUDIENCE. AT THE SAME TIME THEIR IS OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE EXPOSURE TO DOMESTIC PLAYERS OF INTERNATIONAL CRICKETERS . AUSTRALIA SHOULD MAKE WAY WITH THE PRESENT CRICKET SCENARIO. FRANCHISES SHOULD TALK TO THE AVAILABLE PLAYERS LIKE THEY DO THIS TIME .AND CONTINUE TO TALK TO THE CRICKETING NATIONS LIKE PAKISTAN BECAUSE THEY ARE QUALITY PLAYERS IN T20 AND AVAILABLE

  • Zat. on January 24, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    To go to the 'Big Bash' matches it costs $10 for an adult, $5 for a kid. The international ODI matches start at triple that for adults in Melbourne, and the cheapest ODI tickets in Sydney are $56. An adult ticket to the movies cost about $16. The Big Bash is cheap entertainment. And for some of the matches they gave away 20 000 or more tickets. That's the 80% increase in crowds covered. Sure, a lot of people went to it, but please cricinfo, present all the facts.

  • crackers134 on January 23, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    I am all for expanding the big bash but think CA is going down the wrong path with city franchises. The state teams have built their crowds up every year and most people who are cricket fans follow their state teams closely. So now we will be expected to follow Melbourne with New South Welshmen and Queenslanders in the team instead of Victoria? And to be passionate about a new franchise instead of our state teams, some of which have been playing for over 150 years? The Big Bash with state teams has grown every year and will continue to do so, especially if Australian test players are available to play. I would like to see the tournament expanded to a full round of home and away matches and would be happy to see new teams admitted eg. ACT, possibly North Qld, Northern NSW? The areas CA want to expand in (Gold Coast, West Sydney, Geelong) could host a couple of matches each season (eg. Qld play 2 home games on Gold Coast, Vic 2 in Geelong etc.). Cut FR Cup back to 5 matches each.

  • apaar.garg on January 23, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    i thnk that big bash is big bash it should not try to become ipl.

  • malibu77 on January 23, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    The Big Bash has good crowds as it is during school holidays, gets great media including tv coverage and the fixtures are publicised and promoted. Shield matches on the other hand are poorly promoted, the fixturing is poor, the season runs too long (there should be games every week through November and December) and the media gives it scant attention. Despite all of this there is great interest in the Shield competition - it just doesn't translate into crowd numbers.

  • prashnottz on January 23, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    I don't understand this "doomsday" call for the longer version whenever an article appears on the success of a T20 tournament. India won the T20 cup in 2007 and around the same time IPL kicked off. Everyone moaned then that test cricket would die in India. What happened thereafter is there to see. India rose from the middle rung to No.1 in test cricket. In fact not only they persuaded NZ to extend a test series by one more match but have actually gone against the FTP and accomodated 2 test matches by cancelling 3-4 ODIs against SA this year. While BCCI bashing is the in thing these days, such initiatives may well be conveniently forgotten, but fact is that with some maturity, both forms of the games can not only coexist but prosper together.

  • manikato1 on January 22, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    OK, here's how I think it should be run. Sheffield Shield to be run during October & November, with the final in early December. All games to be run from Friday-Monday. FRC games to be played on the Wednesday prior. Add 2 or 3 more teams, either Aus or NZ regions. Teams would meet each other once, giving 7 or 8 games each, plus a final. From there internationals take over, with a 5 game 1 day series played before Xmas, prior to the Tests, where I would have only 4 - Boxing Day in Melbourne, New Years in Sydney (ideally 4 day tests of 7.5 hours each, so Sydney gets the advantage of the New Year holiday, rather than starting on the 3rd as happened this year) and Adelaide around Australia Day, with 1 test rotating between Brisbane, Perth & (maybe) Hobart. Then the Big Bash would take up all of February, the same 8 or 9 domestic teams playing each other Home & away before Semi's & Final. Maybe also have FRC reverse games played during Int window, so Domestic players don't lose touch.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on January 22, 2010, 23:19 GMT

    am sure CA will make this BIG and like on field success will have lots to offer off the field too.

  • JimDavis on January 22, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    I've a league to look at - the NBL

  • mmoosa on January 22, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Cricket is the only sport wherein fans belittle one form of the game (20 over) so consistently.Rugby has 7's and ive never heard that format criticised-quite the contrary as it has been a conduit as well as skills enhancer for the 15 man game. Cricket,like any sport,is a numbers game-the more people watch,learn and play,the bigger the pool available. Test cricket is not the main form of the game-schools,club and domestic cricket is. I went to a domestic first class match on a Sunday in S.A with several test players who outnumbered the "crowd" in spite of free entrance! Just look at the deterioration of the Windies and some of their finest cricket talent gone to basketball,soccer,athletics,etc due to the glamour,money,etc Test cricket is the ultimate outcome and the finest form of the game,20/20 has to be the conduit that brings more fans to watch,is fun,increases the future player base and brings innovation to cricket as well as keeps growing in poularity.

  • krsna76 on January 22, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    All guys speaking against T20 here are just a very few people, may be 50 or100. Just see the number of persons who attended Big Bash match between Victoria and Tasmania at MCG, it is 43,125. Cricket could not be run for the few 50 to 100 guys typing messages here. The 43,215 people are not against Test cricket, but they like T20 more due various reasons. Cricket or any sport is run based on the liking of the majority of the people and not few people typing messages here. T20 is the future.

  • eelmit on January 22, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    In the interests of the game as a whole and as suggeted by Stephen Fleming a few years ago, how about NZ's North and South Islands being included in some way as well (e.g. Auckland and Christchurch).

    I believe something similar happens in Rugby League with the odd NZ club playing in the NRL?

  • alex_d12 on January 22, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    What a terrible, terrible idea. The big bash is already too long! no Sheffield shield or FR cup games have been played for nearly a month. the only reason i followed the big bash was to have a look at the form of my state team... if it becomes state capitals, and an auction, i couldn't care less about it. Now i feel dirty for attending... and will have to go to a few days of shield cricket to make up for it!

  • Woody111 on January 22, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    Can we stop accommodating this cricket cancer that is 20/20! Every bloody season there's more discussion of how to further inculcate this awful example of cricket into the year's calendar. This will only lead to juniors playing baseball shots like Warner and not learn to occupy the crease and value your wicket. If we keep going down this path we may as well cancel all cricket longer than one day because noone will know how to play it any more.

    As 20/20 obviously won't go away just franchise the hell out of it. Treat it like the empty soulless thing it is. Who cares who plays for who. It doesn't matter who hits the sixes; just as long as someone's hitting them. Make road pitches so the fans get their cake and stop referring to it as cricket.

    Actually, clearly Sri Lanka and India's boards don't care about test cricket at all; why don't they develop their own version - maybe two bowlers bowling at the same time to two batsmen at each end!

    Aaaarrrggggghhhhhh!

  • mazzad on January 22, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    Maybe the reason no-one is going to the Sheffield Shield is the horrible fixture dates this season. I have been looking to go at least 1 match, but many of the NSW 4 day matches have run Tues-Fri. It makes it a little difficult to attend as someone with a fulltime job! An improvement in the fixtures would bea good start.

  • Cricketer4good on January 21, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    Just cant get enough of Big Bash. Love the idea of cities instead of States. Bring it on.

  • redneck on January 21, 2010, 22:54 GMT

    @peter239 you wouldnt just happen to be victorian would you!? happy for melbourne to keep its peak holiday test but give sydney's the flick aswell as adelaide on australia day!!! international cricket is the top billing for the sport and therefor should get prime billing through the summer! living in adelaide myself we have soccer, footy, basketball and even baseball teams playing domestic comps, what we dont get is any bloody australian teams coming here apart from cricket! i think you'll find the same story in hobart and perth so instead of trying to pump another domestic comp where plenty exist already at the expense of the only truly national team this country has, how about we support the very reason why cricket stands out from the other sports in this country! you eastern states citizens are spoilt for choice, why the rest of us miss out!

  • StreetCricketer on January 21, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Please make sure to include some Pakistani players. Otherwise their mommy will call your mommy and their sports minister will call your sports minister... and so on!

  • PratUSA on January 21, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    @ ElGerrardo: Loved your post mate. I understand what you mean and completely agree with it. We need more and more people who actually love cricket 'the sport' and not just cricket 'the entertainment'.

  • Lennon_Marx on January 21, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    The next few years will be interesting to watch in Australia, especially because (along with England) Australia is one of the last bastions of decent crowds turning out for test cricket. I would hope that Cricket Australia would organise scheduling the logical way (FRC back to five games each a season as it was until relatively recently and Sheffield Shield left alone) though such sensible planning is incredibly unlikely. IF the international Australian team is allowed to play I hope to see a drastic reduction in their national team pay as a result. 8, even 10 teams is an interesting idea, and I think it's very workable to see three or four internationals in each team (each team with squads of roughly 18-20 players). would desperately like to see Cricket Australia do something intelligent and require each team to have a player from an Associate Nation in their team for each match. Of course that's about as likely as me (an athiest) becoming Pope, but can only hope sense will prevail

  • ElGerrardo on January 21, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I don't understand. I play cricket for my local club each weekend, I go to at least two days of the boxing day test, I go to each ODI in Melbourne and 1 or 2 FRC each season as well. I have never been to a Sheffield Shield match, but read the results etc. 20/20 cricket on the other hand just doesn't do it for me. I've watched the occasional game on TV, which is mildely entertaining, but if a good episode of Family Guy is on that might sway me to change channels. I cannot understand the appeal of watching people playing a skilled down version of the real thing. It's like me going out to bat at No.11 - swing as hard as you can and hope you connect. I had a mate go on about David Warner when he made 50 or something against the Saffa's, yet they put him in the 50 over side and he failed. Great. So he's not that good at cricket than. By all means expand the competition as its obviously making money but keep the longer versions of the game the same for those of us who actually like cricket.

  • Marco.Trevisiol on January 21, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    I think Jarrod Potter is on the money with his comments. Why does the Sheffield Shield have to suffer when the FRC is the obvious target. Even before the boom in Twenty20, it seemed an absurdly overextended comp that only existed to fill in large chunks on Fox Sports' schedule. Hardly anyone goes to the matches, with even the final often bringing in crowds of less than 10,000. Would up and coming players be less prepared for international one-dayers if they played 5 matches a year instead of 10?

  • __PK on January 21, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Your last line made me laugh - "But fans of domestic cricket in Australia should prepare for a big shake-up". If fans of domestic cricket in Australia had been going to watch it this wouldn't have happened.

  • dazzler_arpan on January 21, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Its same problem with all countries ..In India Ranji trophy has very few takers .. But there was great hope when Ranji Trophy final was attended full house by crowd .Way is to build longer version game Image with proper marketing and promotion. We have build rivalries and match should be played on sporty , result oriented surfaces . Spectators should get better facilities too

  • peter239 on January 21, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    This proposal could be accommodated by scaling back (or getting rid of) the bilateral one day international series about to be played against Pakistan and the West Indies. This would mean the international players would be available without increasing their workload and for the concept to be successful that needs to be the case. The Australian home tests could conclude with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The New Year's test in Sydney to be moved prior to Xmas. The domestic 20/20 could then commence with an extravaganza on New Year's Eve, with the tounament played through early January. 8 teams with double headers played each day should be just as satisfying to the TV operators as the current ODIs and with all the internationals available (+ overseas imports) I'm sure it would be a great success. In short - 5 test matches ending 30 Dec, domestic big bash in January and reduced number of international ODIs in Feb. Halve no. of domestics 50 over games to preserve Sheffield Shield.

  • JarrodPotter on January 21, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    I think the Ford Ranger Cup will be the one to suffer. One-day cricket is already being hounded to adapt further, and I fear that the format will have to take the hit to allow SS and Big Bash to have full autonomy to schedule a large amount of matches.

    Realistically, 10 Shield Matches and 10 Big Bash Matches per team should be looked at, and perhaps the Ford Ranger scales back to 5 matches per team to accommodate. Tinkering with the best format is not the answer, but to take the offshoot format and play around with that. There's no great affinity for ODI cricket anyway.

  • redneck on January 21, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    i think this is prehaps a bit of media hype about the shield games being cut back! as it will get us traditionalists up in arms! the 50 over ford ranger cup would be the more likely candidate to be trimmed down to 5 matches each side! anyhow i wouldnt be suprised if the novalty of twenty20 wore off in a couple of years and the supposed 8 team comp never takes off!

  • Sekhar_S on January 21, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    I have been a keen follower of the Aussie domestic competitions in the last two years and the thought of Brad Hodge playing for Sydney or Adelaide sounds bizarre to me.I'm not too happy with the team structure in the IPL either where Ajit Agarkar from Mumbai is playing for Kolkata.I feel that the Big Bash itself can be remodelled on the lines of the IPL i.e by having home and away games. We can also have more than one game per day. We can add two more teams like Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory or any of those provinces you have mentioned in your article.

    One of the suggestions for the IPL is to conduct it over a 3-month period with Test matches and ODIs slotted in between.Maybe the Big Bash could adopt this structure and trial it.I believe all is fine with the Big Bash and don't see any need to do a complete overhaul.

  • tfjones1978 on January 21, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Part of the reason why Big Bash is getting so many people coming in is that its not shown on TV, but there are international players playing. If TV coverage of the events makes it on pay-free TV (eg: Channel 9) then numbers will drindle. TV coverage should be limited to Sports channels on paid channels and make Shield and Aust in Aust matches free-TV (eg: Channel 9) I was pushing for more teams as long as numbers are 60+ Aust eligible players. Thus, 6 with 0 (66), 7 with 2 (63), 8 with 3 (64), 9 with 4 (63), 10 with 5 (60), etc. I think beyond 10 teams within 5 years would be problematic, as would require too many foreign players to avoid delution of domestic player pool (10 teams mean upto 50 foreign players using 10 with 5 model) Other sports have shown that 16 teams is around max of what a competition can handle. Thus by 2020, could have 16 teams (2 per state, 1 per territory & 2 others eg: Auckland & PNG's capital) with 6+ Aust (inc 1+ U19 & 1+ U21), 2+ Assoc EAP, 3- Other players

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  • tfjones1978 on January 21, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Part of the reason why Big Bash is getting so many people coming in is that its not shown on TV, but there are international players playing. If TV coverage of the events makes it on pay-free TV (eg: Channel 9) then numbers will drindle. TV coverage should be limited to Sports channels on paid channels and make Shield and Aust in Aust matches free-TV (eg: Channel 9) I was pushing for more teams as long as numbers are 60+ Aust eligible players. Thus, 6 with 0 (66), 7 with 2 (63), 8 with 3 (64), 9 with 4 (63), 10 with 5 (60), etc. I think beyond 10 teams within 5 years would be problematic, as would require too many foreign players to avoid delution of domestic player pool (10 teams mean upto 50 foreign players using 10 with 5 model) Other sports have shown that 16 teams is around max of what a competition can handle. Thus by 2020, could have 16 teams (2 per state, 1 per territory & 2 others eg: Auckland & PNG's capital) with 6+ Aust (inc 1+ U19 & 1+ U21), 2+ Assoc EAP, 3- Other players

  • Sekhar_S on January 21, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    I have been a keen follower of the Aussie domestic competitions in the last two years and the thought of Brad Hodge playing for Sydney or Adelaide sounds bizarre to me.I'm not too happy with the team structure in the IPL either where Ajit Agarkar from Mumbai is playing for Kolkata.I feel that the Big Bash itself can be remodelled on the lines of the IPL i.e by having home and away games. We can also have more than one game per day. We can add two more teams like Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory or any of those provinces you have mentioned in your article.

    One of the suggestions for the IPL is to conduct it over a 3-month period with Test matches and ODIs slotted in between.Maybe the Big Bash could adopt this structure and trial it.I believe all is fine with the Big Bash and don't see any need to do a complete overhaul.

  • redneck on January 21, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    i think this is prehaps a bit of media hype about the shield games being cut back! as it will get us traditionalists up in arms! the 50 over ford ranger cup would be the more likely candidate to be trimmed down to 5 matches each side! anyhow i wouldnt be suprised if the novalty of twenty20 wore off in a couple of years and the supposed 8 team comp never takes off!

  • JarrodPotter on January 21, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    I think the Ford Ranger Cup will be the one to suffer. One-day cricket is already being hounded to adapt further, and I fear that the format will have to take the hit to allow SS and Big Bash to have full autonomy to schedule a large amount of matches.

    Realistically, 10 Shield Matches and 10 Big Bash Matches per team should be looked at, and perhaps the Ford Ranger scales back to 5 matches per team to accommodate. Tinkering with the best format is not the answer, but to take the offshoot format and play around with that. There's no great affinity for ODI cricket anyway.

  • peter239 on January 21, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    This proposal could be accommodated by scaling back (or getting rid of) the bilateral one day international series about to be played against Pakistan and the West Indies. This would mean the international players would be available without increasing their workload and for the concept to be successful that needs to be the case. The Australian home tests could conclude with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The New Year's test in Sydney to be moved prior to Xmas. The domestic 20/20 could then commence with an extravaganza on New Year's Eve, with the tounament played through early January. 8 teams with double headers played each day should be just as satisfying to the TV operators as the current ODIs and with all the internationals available (+ overseas imports) I'm sure it would be a great success. In short - 5 test matches ending 30 Dec, domestic big bash in January and reduced number of international ODIs in Feb. Halve no. of domestics 50 over games to preserve Sheffield Shield.

  • dazzler_arpan on January 21, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Its same problem with all countries ..In India Ranji trophy has very few takers .. But there was great hope when Ranji Trophy final was attended full house by crowd .Way is to build longer version game Image with proper marketing and promotion. We have build rivalries and match should be played on sporty , result oriented surfaces . Spectators should get better facilities too

  • __PK on January 21, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Your last line made me laugh - "But fans of domestic cricket in Australia should prepare for a big shake-up". If fans of domestic cricket in Australia had been going to watch it this wouldn't have happened.

  • Marco.Trevisiol on January 21, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    I think Jarrod Potter is on the money with his comments. Why does the Sheffield Shield have to suffer when the FRC is the obvious target. Even before the boom in Twenty20, it seemed an absurdly overextended comp that only existed to fill in large chunks on Fox Sports' schedule. Hardly anyone goes to the matches, with even the final often bringing in crowds of less than 10,000. Would up and coming players be less prepared for international one-dayers if they played 5 matches a year instead of 10?

  • ElGerrardo on January 21, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I don't understand. I play cricket for my local club each weekend, I go to at least two days of the boxing day test, I go to each ODI in Melbourne and 1 or 2 FRC each season as well. I have never been to a Sheffield Shield match, but read the results etc. 20/20 cricket on the other hand just doesn't do it for me. I've watched the occasional game on TV, which is mildely entertaining, but if a good episode of Family Guy is on that might sway me to change channels. I cannot understand the appeal of watching people playing a skilled down version of the real thing. It's like me going out to bat at No.11 - swing as hard as you can and hope you connect. I had a mate go on about David Warner when he made 50 or something against the Saffa's, yet they put him in the 50 over side and he failed. Great. So he's not that good at cricket than. By all means expand the competition as its obviously making money but keep the longer versions of the game the same for those of us who actually like cricket.

  • Lennon_Marx on January 21, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    The next few years will be interesting to watch in Australia, especially because (along with England) Australia is one of the last bastions of decent crowds turning out for test cricket. I would hope that Cricket Australia would organise scheduling the logical way (FRC back to five games each a season as it was until relatively recently and Sheffield Shield left alone) though such sensible planning is incredibly unlikely. IF the international Australian team is allowed to play I hope to see a drastic reduction in their national team pay as a result. 8, even 10 teams is an interesting idea, and I think it's very workable to see three or four internationals in each team (each team with squads of roughly 18-20 players). would desperately like to see Cricket Australia do something intelligent and require each team to have a player from an Associate Nation in their team for each match. Of course that's about as likely as me (an athiest) becoming Pope, but can only hope sense will prevail