Big Bash League 2012-13

Dullsville at the Big Bash League

The first half of the BBL has been lukewarm, but it has been good enough to inspire poetry

Alex Malcolm

December 25, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Yet the television was alive with Fox Sports on the box,
Shane Warne was bowling with his thinning blonde locks.

He gave commentary too as he bowled to Aaron Finch,
But the Renegades captain had Warne feeling the pinch.
Sixes here, there, and everywhere saw Finch to a ton,
Leading the Renegades to four matches won.

It is half way through now and it is time for a break,
Although a short one at that with so much at stake.
On Jolimont Street Cricket Australia officials saw red,
Twenty million over two years has so far been bled.

Crowds have been dwindling through the tournament so far,
Rain has caused matches beyond the bizarre.
The first eleven matches went to the team giving chase,
Predictability is the last thing you need at such frenetic pace.

The lack of great deeds is a source of frustration,
Save for Finch's century and Malinga's devastation.
Mike McKenna, BBL chief, must wonder when things will turn,
With the next broadcast rights CA have ambitions to earn.

What can be done, can anything change?
The Thunder, for one, can't get 5000 to a game.
The strategy of eight franchises was meant to excite,
To create local derbies, and allow games every night.

But the vision of Jolimont must have turned to a frown,
As not even the IPL had gambled with two teams to a town.
The house is divided with separate forces at play,
Big Bash at night and Tests in the day.

The lessons of history forgotten from the World Series years,
Test players "quarantined", pleas fall on deaf ears.
No Warner, no Clarkey, or even Mr Cricket,
What the Sixers would not give for Mitchell Starc to take them a wicket.

So what should be done to fix this Christmas malaise?
The show must go on and the gun's games, they must raise.
On Punter! On Warney! On Gayley! McKenna shouted,
Whilst quietly hoping Warne's pay-cheque is not outed.

The fireworks, the dancers, the DJ's will stay,
But in reality good cricket will keep the wolves at bay.
Because no matter the demographic, it's what the fans want to see,
Great batting, great bowling and the genius of Murali.

Excitement, tense moments, fluctuations in fortunes are what's required,
For cricket of any level or format to be so richly desired.
For great cricket is special, something majestic to sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Cricket157 on (December 27, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

"No former big name superstars save for ....... Marsh Bros?"

Excuse me? Chamara Severinatke, that is a classic!

A ton on Test Debut does not make Shaun Marsh a superstar and his Brother whilst a huge talent has played very few games in the short form for Australia.

Posted by Gizza on (December 27, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

The team which gets the best crowds for its population is Hobart which is not surprising as the city doesn't have its own sports team in any major Australian league. The teams with the worst crowds are the four Sydney/Melbourne teams since the people's loyalty is divided. I thought like others the whole point of replacing states with cities was so you can include more cities (non-capital ones) into the competition. Canberra, Darwin, Newcastle, Gold Coast, Geelong, the Central Coast, Townsville. The Sheffield Shield will be always be stated based and in that sense preferential to the state capitals but T20 was the perfect opportunity to spread the game elsewhere. The expansion has been a massive failure. At the very least call the Thunder "West Sydney" or something like that. The flashy lights in the stumps is the one bright spot though. Not only the novelty factor but great for runout 3rd umpire referrals when the camera angles aren't good enough (eg bowler blocking the stumps).

Posted by johntycodes on (December 26, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

I used to go when it was state versus state but could not care less now they are franchises. I still look through all the scorecards but never watch it.

Posted by JB77 on (December 26, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

The BBL organisers seem to be in two minds - they want city-based loyalty from fans, but they wan't to distance themselves from the domestic one-day and test teams that fans have supported for so long. As a South Australian, the BBL organisers want me to support a hodge-podge team of local, international, interstate and second-string players while one of SA's best T20 players, Dan Christian, plays for Brisbane! The team is called the Adelaide Strikers, yet they dress like they're from NSW or Victoria (seriously, which executive thought *that* was a good idea for a team based in SA?) while the Melbourne Renegades wear SA's colours! Why should I care about this team? Give me our best local players, wearing SA's colours, who care about SA cricket and less big names chasing quick cash. Between this, Adelaide Oval being torn apart and a South African ring-in skipper it's not fun being a South Australian cricket fan at the moment.

Posted by eddsnake on (December 26, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

What was wrong with the old 6 state based Big Bash? It also seems ridiculous to give Melbourne and Sydney two teams whilst Canberra, Cairns and Darwin don't have 1 between them.

Also bagels.a you are talking nonsense when you say 'just remember Cricket plays 4th fiddle to likes of Football,Rugby,Olympic sports in popularity stakes in England.' Yes football is the be all and end all to many people but Cricket is the second biggest participation sport in England according to a survey from earlier this year, and ranks ahead of rugby and WAY ahead of any Olympic sport in popularity. No one gives a stuff about rowing, cycling or even athletics apart from once every 4 years! Just wait till you see the crowds at the Ashes tests in England next year, and the 20,000 or so Barmy Army supporters that'll be in Australia in 2013-14 and try and tell me that cricket here plays 4th fiddle!

Posted by bobmartin on (December 26, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

T20 is to Test cricket what draughts is to chess. No comparison yet each attracts it's own brand of loyal supporters and long may that continue. Having said that, the IPL seems to have had a deleterious effect on Indian test cricket as witnessed by their rapid decline in the ratings. My suggestion would be for the two formats to do what rugby did all those years ago and form themselves into two separate entities which seem to co-exist quite confortable and each enjoys considerable success. At the moment cricket is stagnant worldwide with very few new nations taking the game up.. Maybe a T20 World Cup under the auspices of a new controlling body might tempt other nations to try the sport, whereas now, with the ICC restricting participation, few nations see much point in taking up the game. In simple terms the ICC itself is too elitist.

Posted by baghels.a on (December 26, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

I agree 100 % with what @ArchieTambo has said in particular his lines " Cricket has suffered for 100 years from pompous elitists who want to keep the game "pure" (i.e. dull and stuck in the past) and away from the debasing influences of the supposed lower classes. " are so spot on. Another typical examples of this Victorian snobbery can be seen in @Chris_P reply aimed at @samerwards and i take great offense to his comments that many of the Indians lack knowledge of the game ..., condescending and disparaging.CA decision to quarantine test players sends a wrong signal to watching public,CA are undermining there own tournament.Is the CA trying to compeat with England to show who are more purists of the two, English are custodians of test cricket and CA want to emulate them fine, but just remember Cricket plays 4th fiddle to likes of Football,Rugby,Olympic sports in popularity stakes in England.unfortunately CA and cricket in Australia are headed the same way in coming years.

Posted by Mooses on (December 26, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

Chamara Seneviratne: "Maybe we should do what the English have done ... each side having 2 imported superstars." It works in England because nobody else is playing much cricket then. Australian domestic season is peak cricket time, with more domestic leagues and international tours. The superstars are already busy! The available imported players are already here, and not standing out greatly from the home grown players like Finch, et al.

Posted by ArchieTambo on (December 26, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

Pretentious preening nonsense. I've been an avid consumer of the Big Bash stuff because, although I am 45+ and played 100% conventional cricket, I am open to new concepts and the reality that cricket suffers from format issues and time fatigue. So its a bit over the top occasionally, so what? Kids love it and its a quick cheap night out for families with limited free time and disposable income. The cricket has also been much better than its being given credit for, and new technology like the flash stumps are great innovations which the elites will of course sledge initially and then take up later after supposedly "civilizing it." Cricket has suffered for 100 years from pompous elitists who want to keep the game "pure" (i.e. dull and stuck in the past) and away from the debasing influences of the supposed lower classes. I will however concede that Mark Waugh is perhaps the worst commentator of all time.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

The first Big Bash League was a real success the first time around, but thanks to factors like weather and the fact that most of the best players in each squad make up the Australian Test/ODI side (Thank you hectic international schedule), its almost pointless to watch the games with too many young unknowns and almost no former big name superstars, save for Warne, Paine, Ponting, Lee, Haddin, Marsh bros etc.

Maybe we should do what the English have done and completely revamp the Domestic One Day Competition, by making it a 40/40 tournament and each side having 2 imported superstars, as I enjoyed watching Phil Hughes playing for the Worcestershire Royals in England's Pro40 competition via Foxtel. Also I noticed that the Crowds at these English County games are pretty big, which is a far cry of the the crowd sizes at the Ryobi Cup matches, where on a good day up to 200-300 or so people turn up.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 25, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

@samedwards/ I know Indians love their cricket, but many of your countrymen show their lack of cricket knowledge in their posts, highlighting that garbage T20 puts out as the supreme form factor. It appeals to the fast food generation with low concentration levels here. I detest the word "cricket" in the use of T20. T20 uses cricket equipment, that's the only thing similar. It's not real cricket, nor will it ever be.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

i love it.....nice poem.....When business meet cricket.......doesnt alWays end Well

Posted by cheesemethod on (December 25, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

The t20 comp in australia was booming when played with the traditional state teams. Victorian games pulling in 30-40k crowds. Easily more than the ODI crowds. I dont mind the city named teams but should have gone for one team in each city THEN expand when required. Less teams, higher quality. Quarenteened players has hurt the comp big time. People want to see the big guns play. Be interesting to see what changes will be made

Posted by samedwards on (December 25, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

@LillianThomson, "IPL appeals mainly to people who don't particularly like cricket, whereas in Australia the public - male and female - has a much better grasp of and passion for cricket." Nothing is farther than the truth. You have to understand that India is decent in only one sport-cricket. so cricket is equivalent to all sports here. We love Test cricket, and we celebrate T20 cricket too-but as a spectacle;not a proper sport. IpL is to Indians what EPL is to the Poms and AFL is to you guys- a spectacle to go out, not think too much and enjoy.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

The failure of the Big Bash was predictable and not only is it an expensive failure but it actively harms first class and test cricket in Australia. By splitting the 2020 competition from the traditional first class structure and paying the players more Cricket Australia has basically admitted that 2020 is more important than the other forms of the game. The contrast with County Cricket in England where the first class competition is prioritised is striking.

There is only one IPL and the IPL only works because it is backed by Indian TV and appeals to the Indian TV audience. The Big Bash does neither and the Australian public has other things to do with their free time other than watch meaningless 2020 cricket matches. Without the context of the existing states sides that have been around for over a century the games are basically meaningless. Melbourne v Melbourne or Sydney v Sydney who cares? Why would anyone care.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 25, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

still by far the best t20 league in the world at least it has the highest standards and you actually have to be class player to play it unlike the english league

Posted by Rewa402 on (December 25, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

I have watched some of the BBL from New Zealand and have found it boring and predictable at the best of times. The games meander without purpose and the commentators make it a painful experience. Comparing to other T20 leagues I have watched (England, IPL, NZ HRV Cup), I would rather watch the NZ and England leagues. At least they got character.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

@LillianThomson Easier said than done when overseas players are so hard to recruit these days. Merry Christmas!

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 25, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

I'm loving the failure of the Big Bash.

Cricket Australia seems not to have grasped that IPL appeals mainly to people who don't particularly like cricket, whereas in Australia the public - male and female - has a much better grasp of and passion for cricket. How they sold (or more likely gave away) radio rights to the BBC baffles me. And giving exclusive TV rights to Pay TV ensures that most cricket fans ignore the Big Bash most of the time.

I'd rather Cricket Australia rebranded the Sheffield Shield as a Day-Night 3 day product, and allowed each team to have up to four imported superstars. The rights would also have to be shared between Pay TV and Terrestrial TV to get a following. I grew up in England in the seventies when counties had precisely that formula - 3 day matches with 4,5 or even 6 imported players of the highest quality.

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