Random thoughts on the Big Bash League
Russell Degnan

  • Warne remains a drawcard; the crowd cheered his every move all night. It might seem a gimmick to have old players, but sports league thrive on stars, and having players who are known and will be playing (which won't apply to most of the national team) is vital. In later seasons the crowds will have their own heroes.

  • Wright and Dernbach are decent cricketers, but they are boring rather than charismatic, and an overseas signing ought to be a crowd-puller. This is such a roundabout way of mentioning that I don't understand why no team picked up head-band-wearing quick Hamid Hassan, burly world cup hero Kevin O'Brien, or all-round superstar Ryan ten Doeschate. All that marketing, and they don't sign marketable players.

  • The MCG significantly over-catered for the game; the third tier food outlet was closed within an hour. While disappointing on the surface, the crowd was decent. CA must act as an entrepreneur and maintain that the BBL matters; as long as they do, it will, just as long as they haven't the Shield hasn't.

  • Ultimately what the BBL needs are great games: the Vic-NSW match that got 28k was followed by a dud Vic-Tas that got 43k, then 29k, 17k and 13k the next season. 23k is a big turnaround given the previous decline. A few close games will lift the atmosphere and generate a word-of-mouth attendance lift.

  • Warner has gears other players can only wish they have. A few half-chances aside, he easily kept the chase in hand despite limited support from the other end. Not to say he is "the best player in the world", but he ought not be under-rated.

  • Wickets remain under-valued in limited-overs cricket. Even when it was clear the Stars couldn't win without dismissing Warner (or everyone else) the field remained spread and the Thunder coasted home.

  • T20 would be more interesting with a 10-over split: Stars 2/72, Thunder 3/77. Almost all the action happens as the requirement to lift the run-rate increases: Stars 5/81, Thunder 2/77. As long as the required run-rate in in hand, teams don't lose wickets and the game is predictable.

  • There was at least the pretense that Melbourne was the home team last night: no fireworks for Sydney boundaries and wickets. The crowd is dead silent, until the music plays and wrecks the mood.

  • Playing T20 in the school holidays is massively over-rated. The real benefit of the format is that it can be played around work and school. I'd much rather see tests/shield games front-ended to finish in late-January, and the BBL run from there.

  • This is not exclusive to T20, but the single biggest reason for me not attending more domestic cricket is that the seats provide a good view but are uncomfortable, the food on offer is rubbish (at any price), and the coffee worse. T20 mitigates this by being short, but every other weekend entertainment option available slaughters cricket on these factors (and they matter a lot to my cricket-agnostic partner).

Cricket - Articles 18th December, 2011 20:48:13   [#] 

Comments

BBL
Good article Russ. I agree about the work/holidays thing. I've seen domestic T20 after work in London and it's a great evening out. Perfect format for that and not that late for kids either when it finishes.
Lou  19th December, 2011 07:16:52  

Random thoughts on the Big Bash League
Nice insight on the BBL. For the life of me I have not one bit interested, as I have taken to the A-League (and Heart FC) with much gusto.

Both competitions are rather plastic, but I find the A-League a lot less contrived.


Tom  5th January, 2012 14:29:44  

Random thoughts on the Big Bash League
Tom, any Heart fan ought to be a Renegades one. Clearly the city's "second" team, paltry but loyal crowd support, red jersey, cult players (Afridi, Razzaq, Hodge, McDonald, Finch, Nannes). but not a flashy old superstar. I expect to see you down at the 'had next season.
Russ  5th January, 2012 15:31:00