Balance crucial in future expansion of BBL games

15 Feb 2018

Mcdermott Article

ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson has responded to Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland’s call for an expanded number of games in the Big Bash season.

Recent player feedback revealed further expansion of the Big Bash needed to be carefully considered in light of the busy schedule.

Nicholson said any future expansion of the BBL schedule has to get the balance right.

“We need to make sure the needs of fans, players, CA and broadcasters are all met.”

Nicholson said the players views have been expressed with CA through the Standing Scheduling Advisory Group (SSAG), an initiative of the recently completed MOU.

“The players love playing Big Bash cricket and it’s great for the sport.

“It’s one of the best examples of the partnership between CA and the players working well.

“And highlights how the players have driven innovation and the growth of cricket.”

“Our feedback from the players is moving from the current 10-round season to an expanded competition must consider the potential impact on other aspects of the schedule.

“Players are also mindful the 2016/17 BBL season was an 8-round competition, so these changes are significant over a short space of time.”

Nicholson said it was important to balance:

  • Player welfare;
  • Training and travel requirements;
  • Existing schedule;
  • Fan’s appetite; and
  • Broadcaster needs.

Nicholson said competition from other sports is relevant, as is the need to balance all formats of the game in a busy summer.

“One format of the game shouldn’t compromise another is a clear message from the players.

“And the 2018/19 summer is going to be a tough schedule to balance.

“But with both a 50 over World Cup and an away Ashes series in mid-2019, it is vital all formats are taken in to consideration,” Nicholson said.

Other recent feedback from the players included:

The desire to retain the Sheffield Shield Final in March in the long term;

A majority of the players reluctant to play WBBL or BBL cricket on Christmas Day; and

The need for more WNCL cricket.

“Australian domestic cricket continues to produce the best high-performance environment for our elite players,” Nicholson said.

“Our womens’ domestic competition is the best in the world and it produces an outstanding national team.

“The female players simply want to play more 50 over cricket to complement the ongoing success of the WBBL.”

Nicholson also said it was crucial the SSAG considered the female cricketers need to play more longer-form cricket following the outstanding success of the one-off Test match during last year’s Ashes series.

“Women’s cricket continues to break new ground and this should be across all formats of the game.”