Big Bash League 2012-13 August 13, 2012

Usain Bolt open to playing in BBL

ESPNcricinfo staff

Usain Bolt has spoken of his desire to play in the Big Bash League this year, and the Melbourne Stars are keeping the door open to potentially sign him. The possibility was first raised in June when Bolt was interviewed on Australian TV by Eddie McGuire, a presenter who is also the Stars president, and the team's marquee player Shane Warne has also asked Bolt whether he was interested.

Fresh from an Olympic campaign in which he won three gold medals, Bolt said at the weekend he was still open to the idea. "He [Shane Warne] contacted me and asked me about if I am serious and if I really want to do it then he can put in a few words that should get it done," Bolt said on Channel Nine.

"So we will see if I get the time off. I will try. Twenty20, I love it. Just the fact that it is so exciting, it's about going hard the whole time, not just about playing shots. It's about being aggressive and I like that style of batsman. If I get the chance I will definitely try because I know it's going to be a lot of fun. I don't know how good I am. I will probably have to get a lot of practice in."

One of the major issues would be whether Bolt could hold his own as a cricketer. Although he played junior cricket and famously bowled Chris Gayle in a charity match in Jamaica in 2009, facing the likes of Brett Lee and Pat Cummins would be another matter entirely.

In 2006-07, the rugby league star Andrew Johns turned out in two Big Bash matches for New South Wales in an effort to boost crowd numbers and attention for the competition, but the move backfired for the Blues. On debut, Johns batted at No.11 and was at the crease when New South Wales needed 13 from the final over to win, but his partner Simon Katich refused to put him on strike and the Blues lost.

The stakes have risen considerably since then, with the eight BBL franchises all competing not only for the trophy but also for two spots at the Champions League T20, where the winning team earns $2.5 million in prize money. Cricket Australia is cautious about the idea of Bolt playing in the BBL, declaring that the competition has moved past the "novelty factor" and that he would need to be able to play to the appropriate standard, but the Stars remain keen on the idea.

"We're going to wait until the Olympics is over and re-engage with him and his management company," Clint Cooper, the Stars CEO told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We've got a couple of spots left on our list."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    @serious-am-i you're right but the IPL is no different. The people of those countries watch these leagues and very few ,0002% in the rest of the world for example, I reside in the UK and IPL was on ITV well its 4th channel and the viewership was very bad even among Indian citizens wake up! :)))

  • Torsha on August 16, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs.. How about accuracy and perfection of Zak Khan than your overrated fast bowlers who just can't take wickets.

  • Alan Bain on August 15, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    This is a joke an insult to cricket. CA must nip it in the bud and ban it. Didn't they try it with a rugby player a few years back and it was so farcical Simon Katich who was batting with him refused to take a single to stop him beibng on strike? In a T20!!! PS - I thought bolt wanted to play for Man Utd?!!!

  • Joshua on August 15, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    @Akib Alam; if T20 made into future Olympics how would the West Indies function as a cricket team? They would have to split into all their different countries to compete: Jamaica, Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago, St Lucia, Grenada, etc. I wonder if that would make it easier given the tension that always seems to surround the West Indies Cricket Board.

  • Andy on August 14, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    @ Great_Aussie: LOL !!! Some BD fans feel its the best league after IPL. I lost my interest in T20 long back but I do still watch a few matches now and then like IPL or any other friendlies but lol no BPL for sure. I watch county t20's at times, even BBL, IPL never watched any SLPL games so far and didn't watch a single BPL game till date. @Shamim_araf: Lol man I hope u r joking. I would be surprised if he even the heard the name of BPL till date.

  • Rahul on August 14, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Some one said BPL whats that

  • shamim on August 14, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    He Can also join at BPL Also.....nice to see them in cricket

  • Bryn on August 14, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    johnathonjosephs --- yeah i was watching that series. england bowlers were bowling around 78-80 miles on average.

  • Rajeev on August 14, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    BBL beware.. If the air of Bolt playing cricket blows via doors of IPL, then Bolt's gonna be their chairman next year.

  • imran on August 14, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    @cpt meanster...whats so holy about t20 cricket...?? t20 is only a mode of making money, it hardly requires any special skills...coz cricket is not meant for slogging n wild it wont be any disrespect towards cricket if bolt is allowed to play in the bbl coz t20 is not cricket anyway and it will help in generating good revenues which is the primary objective of t20s

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