Big Bash League January 18, 2013

Big Bash League: boon or bane?

Freddie Wilde
People who praise the BBL, how exactly are they quantifying their eulogy? Is it fun? Yes. Is it exciting? Debatable. Is the cricket of a high standard? Perhaps. Is it benefitting Australian cricket? Certainly not
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The second season of the Big Bash League is nearing its conclusion. After a successful first edition, the BBL has reaffirmed its place in the Australian cricketing calendar and has, according to many, established itself as the second best T20 league in the world. That is of course behind the IPL, which despite the questionable standard of cricket seems to have earned itself an undisputed spot as the premier domestic league.

But these people who praise the BBL, lauding its vibrancy, colour and excitement, how exactly are they quantifying their eulogy? Is it fun? Yes. Is it exciting? Debatable. Is the cricket of a high standard? Perhaps. Is it benefitting Australian cricket? Certainly not. Now that the season is drawing to a close, perhaps it is time to take stock and, away from the sixes the noise and the razzmatazz, reassess the league's standing and its worth.

While critiques of an over-crowded schedule, skewed player priorities and corrupted techniques are damaging, they aren't necessarily going to turn the average fan away. The most ringing indictment against the BBL, is its artificiality. It is, for want of a kinder word, fake. The league begins and continues amid wave after wave of hyperbole and a manufactured sense of theatre. The official Twitter and Facebook pages for each of the eight franchises go into overdrive. The Brisbane Heat remind us every hour that things are '#HeatingUp', while the Sydney Thunder warn their followers they are to be '#ThunderStruck.' A competition among the eight teams for the most Facebook 'likes' and a higher place on the 'BBL Like Ladder' only heightens the synthetic sense surrounding the league.

The lengths each team goes to establish a fan following is staggering. Each team website, presumably on instruction of Cricket Australia, is identical in its categories and layout; all contain a 'team profile' page and the Melbourne Renegades' profile says: "The Melbourne Renegades represent modern Melbourne - vibrant, diverse and progressive. We have a healthy streak of anti-establishment and we play out of a non-traditional cricket venue, Etihad Stadium." "Anti-establishment"? That's not a sporting emotion, that's a political and economic view point.

The Renegades' local 'rivals', the Melbourne Stars, unsurprisingly brand themselves as "traditional" and harp back to the history of its home ground, the MCG. This isn't a rivalry driven by emotion or history. It's a pantomime rivalry for the crowds and for the men who sign the TV deals.

The sense of self-importance does not just appear off the cricket field. On the pitch the facade continues. Rumour has it that the speed guns have all been cranked up a notch or two for the League; Brett Lee's and your own puzzlement at his 150kph readings could possibly be explained thus.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation though came from James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, who after the Warne v Samuels fracas said: "Players are entertainers, they're putting on a show... I think while we can stand here and say we don't condone anything that happened last night, this sort of thing is probably something that only inspires a greater rivalry between the Renegades and the Stars and creates greater interest for the Big Bash League."

Hold on. Who said that? The CEO of Cricket Australia? The most powerful man in the sport in Australia? Yep. It was him. Having invested so much in the league there is nothing wrong with Cricket Australia encouraging the growth of a fan-base, but this headlong pursuit of a tribal-style support is ugly and embarrassing.

So what of the cricket itself? That the fielding is perhaps the most notable highlight says a lot. Furthermore, with the number of retired or discarded Australian cricketers floating around, there's a strong sense of dead wood about the league.

Granted, some of it is great. Watching Ricky Ponting bat again is awesome, seeing Brett Lee bowl is cool, the powerful hitting of the likes of Aaron Finch is always fun to watch ... It's fairly easy to enjoy the BBL. A few hours of vibrant cricket and colourful entertainment is many people's ideal way to spend an evening. But if you're a fan of the league it is worth considering the fragile premises upon which the whole tournament is built.

As Australia plummeted to a 3-1 Ashes defeat at home in 2010-11 and the public riled in the aftermath of the then unpopular Michael Clarke being appointed captain, it appeared that support for cricket in Australia was dwindling. Cricket's more attractive rival, Aussie Rules, was stealing the countries sporting talent. One newspaper even blamed the teenage-distraction of Facebook for the declining results on the field and plummeting ticket sales - cricket was being left to rot they claimed.

Then, the revamped Big Bash League was unveiled. While the cricket, obviously, remained the same, a mass of energy had been thrown into a total overhaul of the league's appearance. New teams, new players, new kits, new gadgets, new gizmos, more fireworks, more dancers, more music, and more adverts than ever before. And so the entertainment was increased... Fans flocked to matches in greater numbers. More families sat in front of their TV's watching the action and coverage of the league reached new heights.

So did Cricket Australia succeed in lifting cricket's profile? They have and may well continue to increase the number of people following cricket. That said, the BBL has so far been distanced from the more traditional ODI and Test formats insomuch that as opposed to expanding the fan base for the sport generally, Cricket Australia have simply created a fan-base for a whole new side of the sport. A side totally detached from 50-overs and five-day cricket. A side that ultimately doesn't benefit the Australian cricket team in any shape or form. Moreover, as scheduling demands are increased and the traditional domestic cricket calendar is thrown off kilter by the BBL, you'd be forgiven for thinking the league is in fact doing more harm than good.

Yes, for many people the BBL provides short, sharp bursts of colourful, fun and exciting cricket and entertainment, and for many that is all they desire. But for the life-long follower of the sport and, more specifically, the Australian cricket fan, the positives thrown up by the BBL are few and far between. The improving standing of the country's international T20 team may well prove to be a positive outcome, but that's hardly an earth shattering result is it?

What the BBL is really about is pure, plain and simple: it's about money. Other ideas can of course be argued, but at the end of the day that is what this boils down to. Cricket Australia is yet to bag the huge TV deal it so desperately craves and, until it gets it, the crass hyperbolic advertising and manufactured sense of worth looks set to continue.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anonymous on January 25, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    hmmm..second best T20 league? Really not sure.but miles to traverse before BBL being billed even close to IPL.

  • JOHN on January 24, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    T20 Cricket is not a sport, it is an entertainment business which has stolen the heart of Cricket and put it into a TV Media Circus product.

    The Australian general public do not realise just how compliant a bunch of deprived sporting nation they have become.

    Their match entry fees are not only financing a a bunch of often substandard cricketing practitioners or their State associations, but an incredible array of hanger-onners, by way of doctors,lawyers, physiotherapists,medicine men, bowling,batting, fielding, fitness and media coaches and their deputies, to say nothing of the rotating specialists.

    And that's before we get to the commentary teams, expert and specialist alike, who are more practiced in false marketing than in the presentation.

    T20 is not cricket. It is unadulterated hype. It is a massive fraud committed against and feeding voraciously upon the body of the ultimate game of First Class Cricket.

    A pox upon big bash Bollocks.

    Regds John.

  • Mike on January 23, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    If anything, T20 has brought more interest in cricket as a whole. So many people I know don't follow cricket, yet they will go to a T20 match for the entertainment and the personalities. My own interest in West Australia's domestic side has increased purely as a result of T20 and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the summer has to offer. The fact is the market of T20 is different, all those people saying the game isn't for them, no one cares, get over it and enjoy your Test Cricket, your ODI's or your Domestic comp, it's still going to be there when you wake up tomorrow.

  • Michael on January 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    I'll watch and go to all forms, Test, ODI, and T20. The T20s are good entertainment, but think the new city based franchises add to the contrived nature of the comp. The big risk is what T20 does for the next generation of players as it flows through to underage comps. Despite possible attractions of a "short" game and career opportunities I think its bad for participation, at say a U14/6 level its hard enough for those not in the favoured few to get a genuine go (and stay interested in turning up), and this format does not give the time for all on the field to get one.

  • Ash on January 20, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    @Paul - not sure how you presume that the writer's comments are any less valid merely because he gives the UK as his location. If you really have only watched the BBL on TV, how is your situation any different to a TV viewer 'on the other side of the world'?

  • BBL FAN on January 20, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    These anti t20 BBL rants are getting VERY tiresome. Cricket is a game for players and spectators. If the players and the spectators do not turn up to Tests it is because they are dead. If the players and spectators turn up for BBL it is because it is the future. Test match cricket is hurting the BBL and thus must go!!

  • Roger on January 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    T20 will be the only form of cricket after 20 years. It is the most practical form of cricket in the modern world. Old 5 day cricket was created for amateurs to enjoy limited summer sun. It doesn't apply anymore in professional, modern era.

  • Paul on January 20, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Not sure how the writer (writing from the other side of the world) can presume that followers of the BBL are detached from the other forms or are even new fans who didn't already follow the Test team etc. Aus still get 20,000 plus for a day of test cricket and the BBL appears a good way of encouraging greater interest and connection with domestic cricket. I'm sure it has its flaws (such as the incessant PA ramblings) but it comes across as an enjoyable vibrant tournament from what I've seen on TV, where at least teams have some sort of long-term identity (and no vulgar player auction each year).

  • Adrian on January 20, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    I'm 50. I played cricket from U10 till my last game at the ripe old age of 47. I was there when World Series took off. I was there in the crowd embracing the new vibrant game Kerry helped make. I loved my cricket and enjoyed the one day concept.

    For all of that, I can not for the life of me get into T20 and I have really tried. T20 is just baseball in cricket clothing. It's all hit and bash and honestly boring as bat shit. It is as close to cricket as Squash is to Tennis. I weep as if some like say "T20 is the future of Australian cricket", Australian cricket is in terminal decay.

  • Simoc on January 20, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Another dreary anti T20 rant.Given that most of the local players in BBL normally play in front of a dozen spectators for a subsidised fee, the lure of 20000+ paying spectators and a national TV audience is a no brainer. T20 is so obviously here and popular. Crowds want T20; old ex cricketers and people with nothing to do prefer tests.

  • Anonymous on January 25, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    hmmm..second best T20 league? Really not sure.but miles to traverse before BBL being billed even close to IPL.

  • JOHN on January 24, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    T20 Cricket is not a sport, it is an entertainment business which has stolen the heart of Cricket and put it into a TV Media Circus product.

    The Australian general public do not realise just how compliant a bunch of deprived sporting nation they have become.

    Their match entry fees are not only financing a a bunch of often substandard cricketing practitioners or their State associations, but an incredible array of hanger-onners, by way of doctors,lawyers, physiotherapists,medicine men, bowling,batting, fielding, fitness and media coaches and their deputies, to say nothing of the rotating specialists.

    And that's before we get to the commentary teams, expert and specialist alike, who are more practiced in false marketing than in the presentation.

    T20 is not cricket. It is unadulterated hype. It is a massive fraud committed against and feeding voraciously upon the body of the ultimate game of First Class Cricket.

    A pox upon big bash Bollocks.

    Regds John.

  • Mike on January 23, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    If anything, T20 has brought more interest in cricket as a whole. So many people I know don't follow cricket, yet they will go to a T20 match for the entertainment and the personalities. My own interest in West Australia's domestic side has increased purely as a result of T20 and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the summer has to offer. The fact is the market of T20 is different, all those people saying the game isn't for them, no one cares, get over it and enjoy your Test Cricket, your ODI's or your Domestic comp, it's still going to be there when you wake up tomorrow.

  • Michael on January 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    I'll watch and go to all forms, Test, ODI, and T20. The T20s are good entertainment, but think the new city based franchises add to the contrived nature of the comp. The big risk is what T20 does for the next generation of players as it flows through to underage comps. Despite possible attractions of a "short" game and career opportunities I think its bad for participation, at say a U14/6 level its hard enough for those not in the favoured few to get a genuine go (and stay interested in turning up), and this format does not give the time for all on the field to get one.

  • Ash on January 20, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    @Paul - not sure how you presume that the writer's comments are any less valid merely because he gives the UK as his location. If you really have only watched the BBL on TV, how is your situation any different to a TV viewer 'on the other side of the world'?

  • BBL FAN on January 20, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    These anti t20 BBL rants are getting VERY tiresome. Cricket is a game for players and spectators. If the players and the spectators do not turn up to Tests it is because they are dead. If the players and spectators turn up for BBL it is because it is the future. Test match cricket is hurting the BBL and thus must go!!

  • Roger on January 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    T20 will be the only form of cricket after 20 years. It is the most practical form of cricket in the modern world. Old 5 day cricket was created for amateurs to enjoy limited summer sun. It doesn't apply anymore in professional, modern era.

  • Paul on January 20, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Not sure how the writer (writing from the other side of the world) can presume that followers of the BBL are detached from the other forms or are even new fans who didn't already follow the Test team etc. Aus still get 20,000 plus for a day of test cricket and the BBL appears a good way of encouraging greater interest and connection with domestic cricket. I'm sure it has its flaws (such as the incessant PA ramblings) but it comes across as an enjoyable vibrant tournament from what I've seen on TV, where at least teams have some sort of long-term identity (and no vulgar player auction each year).

  • Adrian on January 20, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    I'm 50. I played cricket from U10 till my last game at the ripe old age of 47. I was there when World Series took off. I was there in the crowd embracing the new vibrant game Kerry helped make. I loved my cricket and enjoyed the one day concept.

    For all of that, I can not for the life of me get into T20 and I have really tried. T20 is just baseball in cricket clothing. It's all hit and bash and honestly boring as bat shit. It is as close to cricket as Squash is to Tennis. I weep as if some like say "T20 is the future of Australian cricket", Australian cricket is in terminal decay.

  • Simoc on January 20, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Another dreary anti T20 rant.Given that most of the local players in BBL normally play in front of a dozen spectators for a subsidised fee, the lure of 20000+ paying spectators and a national TV audience is a no brainer. T20 is so obviously here and popular. Crowds want T20; old ex cricketers and people with nothing to do prefer tests.

  • Andy on January 20, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    I think its only a few years before we see T20 split entirely from Test cricket, with ODIs to die a slow, non-World Cup death. ICC has already pumped up T20 World Cups enough to show that they are the future big ticket items. There will eventually be two sub-sports, Test and T20. Players are wired differently for the two games, in the same way rugby union and rugby league players are designed, train, coached and think differently. Similar to the untrained eye, but in reality a very different type of contest. Braun against brain. The rise of tactics in T20 has surprised administrators. The only problem with my two sport model is how on Earth with Test cricket survive financially, if the games are not directly linked (players playing both)??? Other than that I think it was a fair article from an independent observer. Jealous?! Unlikely! As an Australian cricket fan I'm more embarrassed by the Big Bush League....

  • John on January 20, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    Do I detect a note of jealousy in the massed choir and orchestra of condescension? At least Cricket Australia did not have to appeal to a (later to be jailed) American financial crook to establish a T20 league.

  • Adam on January 19, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    Does the Australian cricket team need more support? Its the state players who need the support and this is what the BBL provides, cash and a crowd. Rather than 20 players in Australia making a decent living out of cricket, its now 160 people.

  • Sebastian on January 19, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Quote: "Is it fun? Yes. Is it exciting? Debatable. Is the cricket of a high standard? Perhaps."

    Quote: "Fans flocked to matches in greater numbers. More families sat in front of their TV’s watching the action and coverage of the league reached new heights."

    Quote: "So did Cricket Australia succeed in lifting cricket’s profile? They have and may well continue to increase the number of people following cricket."

    In short, the BBL does everything it's supposed to do. It creates fun cricket, at a decent standard which is watched & engaged with consumers of cricket and potential future players. Job done: tick.

    Quote: "This isn’t a rivalry driven by emotion or history. It’s a pantomime rivalry for the crowds and for the men who sign the TV deals."

    Yes. TV deals sign the paychecks. If Cricket Australia can say to Foxtel & Channel 9 "People watch every match of this & are engaged" then Cricket Australian can get higher bids & afford to run cricket better across Australia. Job done: tick

  • Phanos on January 19, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    How are these weaknesses and problems and different to the IPL's weaknesses and problems? The fact is, any T20 competition created will be just like this.

  • Kulturtrager on January 19, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    The entire circus should be retired. The cricket is poor and the Americanisation of the game is puerile and moronic.

    But we live in a society where McDonalds, Fifty Shades of Grey and Transformers are hugely popular, so it is hardly surprising that cheap, shallow sport should be celebrated.

  • giovaughn wilson on January 19, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    to be honest i am not a big fan of t20 cricket. but i guess as time has gone by fans have become more impatient & attention spans have dwindled so it has an audience of thrill seekers not cricket fans. i was watching a match & the supporters of the losing team were as happy as can be dancing & jumping as if they had just won a million dollars. i have nothing against ppl enjoying themselves but this jus proves my point.

  • Davo on January 19, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    I'm an enormous, lifelong fan of test cricket. Nothing will replace it. The BBL is hit and giggle. What's wrong with that? Having a few international players bowl four overs a couple of days in a summer is not to blame for the declining standards of the Australian team. T20 is fun, my girlfriend watches it with me and has a lot of fun. So long as you don't expect anything more than a bit of fun it's perfect for what it is. Any claims that it is responsible for all the evils in the world are insufficient at best and blatant pandering at worst.

  • Michael on January 19, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    So the head of Cricket Australia is saying 'while we don't condone manhandling opposition players or deliberately throwing balls at them and swearing at them, it's good for the league'. Utter tripe. Either you condone it or you don't. If your audience needs this sort of 'drama' to be entertained, then perhaps they're not really interested in the cricket after all.

  • MArk on January 19, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    Agree entirely I used to watch 20/20 cricket in australia when it was the state based comp as while i didnt like the format i could follow my team (bulls) however now I have tuned out and only watch ryobi cup and shefield sheild when it comes to domestic cricket. While I agree 20/20 is a way to expand the profile of cricket surly sticking with the state based format would be better as this could create a flow on effect towards the teams following in more traditional cricket

  • Gizza on January 19, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    Aussie Rules isn't even played in the most populous and third most populous states in Australia (NSW and Queensland). The two rugby codes reign supreme there. The rest of the article repeats the usual anti-T20 cliches.

  • Anonymous on January 19, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Interesting well written article. Next time, don't tell everyone where you are from. It's irrelevant and merely encourages those who are incapable of addressing your arguments and resort to tiresome attacks on the country in which you live.

  • Freddie Wilde on January 19, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments - even the negative ones.

    I'd like to say that I see Twenty20 cricket is a form of cricket with enormous capabilities. It’s a format showcasing never-seen-before skills and extraordinary feats of power, speed and athleticism. But if Cricket Australia continue to care more about Facebook likes, fake rivalries and money than the sport itself, The Big Bash League will remain a tournament that is existing well within its potential.

    The greatest tragedy of the BBL is that it has so much to offer if run properly.

    It's not that I don't like T20, I think it can be brilliant. What I don't like is fans being conned (speed guns) pantomime rivalries (Stars v Renegades and Warne v Samuels) and the over-commercialisation of cricket as a product.

  • Mariam on January 19, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    As a Thunder's fan I felt we didn't get the players that other teams got, only Khawaja was class for us and Nannes to some extend but all others were very dissapointing. We need to focus on getting local talent such as Bollinger(Fairfield), O Keefe(Richmond) and let Clarke(Western Suburbs) play, at present Khawaja is the only local boy and the only one worthy of mention. Cricket must be encouraged in Western Sydney, its the biggest growth area in Australia.

  • mark browning on January 19, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Agree entirely. Have played all three formats at club level. T20 feels a different and inadequate sport. No tension, no drama. Every game a repeat of the previous one. No fluctuations in the pace. The Big Lump will do more damage than good in the long run. Because it is a different sport batsmen's brains become geared differently. So we have the Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch's of this world. Lots of money, but no status or job satisfaction.

  • Shivam on January 19, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Stupid article.T20 has the potential to be huge.Its the future.And the cricketing bodies are starting to realise this.This is good news for cricket.I'm sorry but i don't give a damn about test cricket.5 long days.Not happening.

  • James on January 19, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    They have to use smoke and mirrors. Otherwise all that's left is the cricket, and the current generation of Australian kids don't like the game all that much and Cricket Australia know this.

  • Matt H on January 19, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Oh get over yourself! I am sick of self important articles (in this case from the UK!) criticizing the BBL. the cricket is variable sure but it's a club competition. The rivalries are young but they are real. We have state against state in most cases, except the local Melbourne and Sydney games, and these draw the biggest crowds. There are not as many hacks in the competition as you may think. Our teams tend to do oretty weel int he champions league. Contrast 8 teams across Australia with ... How many county sides are there? The hype is as expected for a new competition having to establish itself in a competitive sporting environment. The rating have been big. The second semi outraged the entire A-League for the week (Australia's football competition), 1 game vs 6. The final sold out in 12 minutes. The Australian team players have been pulled form the BBL, so I don't see how it is affecting their cricket.

  • venkatt on January 19, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I give a 1000 likes for this wonderful analytical piece, Freddie. Really, stunned to read James Sutherland uttered those comments regarding the Warne-Samuels fracas, which was apparently more fake than Lance Armstrong's wins.

  • The not so Wilde on January 18, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Ahem, err, scorn without a balanced approach from a UK 'pundit' commenting on two successful ventures run out of Australia and the IPL?! Why dont you admit that you are a closet admirere of all the razmatazz and would love nothing more than an equivalent in England? 'Sharp bursts of colourful fun' is precisely what makes for entertainment as opposed to being stifked in an egg and bacon tie worrying not so much about the dreary draw lomming, but the luncheon to follow, prostrates and ones portfolio!

  • ygkd on January 18, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    It could be said that Lance Armstrong has recently lifted cycling's profile. It could also be argued that cycling would have been better off with a lower profile. T20 is a modern game - brash and not at all subtle. For everything it brings to cricket's table, the high profile, the great revenue, it equally diminishes the game's traditional status. Yet, for all that, one cannot but think that the Big Bash is not the only cause of the complaint. Test cricket is also infected with much the same malaise. Australian cricket is trying to be in too many places at once, so that it can never be sure exactly where it stands. One of the problems is the timing. The Big Bash occupies a key part of the summer itinary. That almost guarantees its success, but at the expense of other forms. The result is that Test cricket will struggle for room, unless a clear demarcation is quickly enforced by CA. Having more than one product is not entirely over-reaching but they must be handled far, far better.

  • Tenash on January 18, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    These anti T20 rants seem to be getting pretty old & boring. The sooner the haters realize that T20 is here to stay the better. Because t20 bashing is frankly starting to become embarassing for the writers

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  • Tenash on January 18, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    These anti T20 rants seem to be getting pretty old & boring. The sooner the haters realize that T20 is here to stay the better. Because t20 bashing is frankly starting to become embarassing for the writers

  • ygkd on January 18, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    It could be said that Lance Armstrong has recently lifted cycling's profile. It could also be argued that cycling would have been better off with a lower profile. T20 is a modern game - brash and not at all subtle. For everything it brings to cricket's table, the high profile, the great revenue, it equally diminishes the game's traditional status. Yet, for all that, one cannot but think that the Big Bash is not the only cause of the complaint. Test cricket is also infected with much the same malaise. Australian cricket is trying to be in too many places at once, so that it can never be sure exactly where it stands. One of the problems is the timing. The Big Bash occupies a key part of the summer itinary. That almost guarantees its success, but at the expense of other forms. The result is that Test cricket will struggle for room, unless a clear demarcation is quickly enforced by CA. Having more than one product is not entirely over-reaching but they must be handled far, far better.

  • The not so Wilde on January 18, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Ahem, err, scorn without a balanced approach from a UK 'pundit' commenting on two successful ventures run out of Australia and the IPL?! Why dont you admit that you are a closet admirere of all the razmatazz and would love nothing more than an equivalent in England? 'Sharp bursts of colourful fun' is precisely what makes for entertainment as opposed to being stifked in an egg and bacon tie worrying not so much about the dreary draw lomming, but the luncheon to follow, prostrates and ones portfolio!

  • venkatt on January 19, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I give a 1000 likes for this wonderful analytical piece, Freddie. Really, stunned to read James Sutherland uttered those comments regarding the Warne-Samuels fracas, which was apparently more fake than Lance Armstrong's wins.

  • Matt H on January 19, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Oh get over yourself! I am sick of self important articles (in this case from the UK!) criticizing the BBL. the cricket is variable sure but it's a club competition. The rivalries are young but they are real. We have state against state in most cases, except the local Melbourne and Sydney games, and these draw the biggest crowds. There are not as many hacks in the competition as you may think. Our teams tend to do oretty weel int he champions league. Contrast 8 teams across Australia with ... How many county sides are there? The hype is as expected for a new competition having to establish itself in a competitive sporting environment. The rating have been big. The second semi outraged the entire A-League for the week (Australia's football competition), 1 game vs 6. The final sold out in 12 minutes. The Australian team players have been pulled form the BBL, so I don't see how it is affecting their cricket.

  • James on January 19, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    They have to use smoke and mirrors. Otherwise all that's left is the cricket, and the current generation of Australian kids don't like the game all that much and Cricket Australia know this.

  • Shivam on January 19, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Stupid article.T20 has the potential to be huge.Its the future.And the cricketing bodies are starting to realise this.This is good news for cricket.I'm sorry but i don't give a damn about test cricket.5 long days.Not happening.

  • mark browning on January 19, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Agree entirely. Have played all three formats at club level. T20 feels a different and inadequate sport. No tension, no drama. Every game a repeat of the previous one. No fluctuations in the pace. The Big Lump will do more damage than good in the long run. Because it is a different sport batsmen's brains become geared differently. So we have the Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch's of this world. Lots of money, but no status or job satisfaction.

  • Mariam on January 19, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    As a Thunder's fan I felt we didn't get the players that other teams got, only Khawaja was class for us and Nannes to some extend but all others were very dissapointing. We need to focus on getting local talent such as Bollinger(Fairfield), O Keefe(Richmond) and let Clarke(Western Suburbs) play, at present Khawaja is the only local boy and the only one worthy of mention. Cricket must be encouraged in Western Sydney, its the biggest growth area in Australia.

  • Freddie Wilde on January 19, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments - even the negative ones.

    I'd like to say that I see Twenty20 cricket is a form of cricket with enormous capabilities. It’s a format showcasing never-seen-before skills and extraordinary feats of power, speed and athleticism. But if Cricket Australia continue to care more about Facebook likes, fake rivalries and money than the sport itself, The Big Bash League will remain a tournament that is existing well within its potential.

    The greatest tragedy of the BBL is that it has so much to offer if run properly.

    It's not that I don't like T20, I think it can be brilliant. What I don't like is fans being conned (speed guns) pantomime rivalries (Stars v Renegades and Warne v Samuels) and the over-commercialisation of cricket as a product.