Former Australia spinner Shane Warne has criticised Cricket Australia, saying that "greed" is the main reason behind the board's decision to expand the Big Bash League next summer.
An extended BBL - with an increase in fixtures from 35 to 43 - is set to stretch into mid-February next year, with games played at four new venues. It has been reported that an expanded BBL, with more focus on the finals, would offer more value to broadcasters. Earlier this month, Channel Seven and Fox Sports clinched the broadcast rights to Australian cricket for the next six years, in a deal worth AUD 1.2 billion with CA.
Warne took to Twitter on Saturday to express his displeasure, saying expanding the BBL would "dilute a wonderful product".
"Australian Cricket should be an equal partnership between the players & the board, then everyone would be on the same page, sure they won't always agree - but if both parties attitude is what's best for Australian Cricket & not themselves, then Cricket & the fans would b happy," he tweeted.
Ps And hopefully greed would then be thrown out the door too ! For example - it's ridiculous that the BBL will have a lot more games next season & beyond - It's a great comp & less is more should be the attitude - not let's put more games on for $$ - diluting a wonderful product— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) April 20, 2018
The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), which was involved in a protracted pay dispute with the CA over last season, had also voiced concerns against the expanded season, saying such changes needed to find the right balance to keep all stakeholders happy.
CA CEO James Sutherland meanwhile had told ESPNcricinfo that more fixtures had been added not with the intention of expanding the tournament, but to find the "right balance" and build up to the tournament's climax properly.