IND v SA (1)
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PAK v ENG (1)
U19WC QLF (2)
WI-W v NZ-W (1)
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Legends League (1)
I knew the Big Bash had started when I saw an intro that was one part Matrix, one part Tron, and also just enough Wide World of Sports to remind you that cricket was involved. Just when you thought the intro was over, they moved into a second intro, which involved team logos and a map of Australia. This was handy for those who still couldn’t remember exactly where a Scorcher came from.
In the second intro, Brett Lee suggested this was mate vs mate, which I think was also the domestic cricket mantra from 10 years ago. But like the Big Bash, it had been polished, and re-positioned in more glam surroundings. Then we were reminded of exactly which players were playing in the tournament. Perhaps I wasn’t listening that well, but I’ll swear they said Shane Warne 4 times. And then Warne spoke and assured us he’d be commentating whilst playing, which probably doubled his fee.
Fox’s coverage started with a tracking shot that flew across the ground only to end with Mark Waugh and Brendan Julian. According to Julian, the Sixers were Waugh’s team, but Waugh said “I might be Sydney Thunder you never know”. And that was it, the essential question of all of those in Sydney or Melbourne, which franchise should you pick? My mum, who’s new found interest in cricket is largely inspired by Mitchell Johnson, wanted to know why someone would pick one Sydney team over another. This was followed by awkward silence as no one in the room could answer her.
The toss of the coin was overshadowed by trucker caps. Why haven’t people played in trucker caps before, foam in the front, air conditioning in the back, it gives cricket the elusive hipster market, and also the country service station feel. “We’ve been excited about this for a whole long time now” Brad Haddin said. He meant the Big Bash, not the trucker caps. I assume.
Stuart MacGill was interviewed, or an old man who’d convinced some people he was Stuart MacGill. Since they both retired, MacGill and Warne have swapped excess pounds. Add to that the fact that Stuart MacGill’s natural hair has turned grey, and he looked even more like the old English pro than he did when he didn’t need large shirts. For all the talk of how fit and athletic you need to be for T20 cricket, it also helps if you are good and old for the Big Bash.
Brendon McCullum was going to be interviewed but he couldn’t here anything because of the crowd, according to Julian. Unfortunately the next shot was of Allan Border in the middle, who was blown away by the atmosphere, although in almost ever direction (and the cameraman did show us almost ever direction) there seemed to be no crowd.
Shane Watson was chomping at the bit. He loves watching cricket, so it’s pretty easy to watch, even when he’s not playing he watches a lot of cricket, because it’s something he’s grown up loving, so it’s going to be a brilliant night tonight, looks like there is going to be a great roll out of this new Big Bash League.
Then the team colours were explained. Steve O’Keefe called the Sydney Sixer’s pink MAN-genta, Brett Lee called it fab and fashionable, and so the masculine and feminine markets were covered. Brisbane Heat’s teal was really representing Brisbane’s culture according to Nathan Hauritz. In our house we tried to work out just what part of teal represented Brisbane. Matthew Hayden was interviewed in the changeroom, which had no background nudity, unlike twitter pictures from Dale Steyn.
Then the match started, Stuart MacGill looked tired running out on the field. Running may not actually be the right term. The cheerleaders went through their meaningless motions. There was fire and loud PA accouncements. Not many spectators. And McCullum’s nose was rearranged by Brett Lee. It was perhaps the best and worst thing to happen to the Big Bash, it showed it was real cricket, and the continual footage of McCullum’s gushing proboscis would have put off a few parents from letting their children play.
The game itself ebbed and flowed like a scripted T20. The fab MAN-genta team beat the teal representatives.
The crowd was 12,000, which considering the marketing campaign, hype and Cricket Australia's hopes wasn’t exactly a ball through the grill for the Big Bash, but it also wasn’t anywhere as good as Stuart MacGill’s 2/21. MacGill may not have been sleek, stylish or well marketed, but he was pretty good, in an old fashioned kind of way.