|New Uniforms for the launch of the Big Bash t20 League in Australia. They all look like bike riders from the Tour de France, not cricketers.|
Cricket Australia see the rebranding and revamping of the league as a huge step forward into gaining a stronger foothold in the already saturated market of professional sports leagues in Australia, with this now being the fourth in as many as years, with soccer, netball and baseball all going though a similar process of late.
What is different? Just about everything, for starters there are now two sides based out of Sydney and Melbourne, players are not auctioned off or even placed in a NBA style draft – but sold as free agents for a 7 game slogfest now known as the KFC Big Bash League. The title of the league gives it a cartoon dusting of a real competition with no mention of the words Australia to help identify it with the region for which the cricket is actually being played.
With the above issues it would seem that I’m on a punshing article of negatives headed straight for throat of Cricket Australia, but I’m not, well not quite.
The interesting point of having two sides from the largest capitals (Melb/Syd) has opened up the option of playing at non-traditional cricket venues (is this starting to remind people World Series Cricket) with the Dome stadium in Melbourne and Sydney Olympic Stadium being used, I still think they missed a trick here with a chance to place a team in Geelong and play out of the very capable Skilled Stadium and major sports hungry city prepared to back a team, but maybe this is a future option.
The idea of taking away the State vs. State rivalry is the biggest sticking point amongst those that have stayed true to state cricket in its leanest years, and still attended quarter full MCG’s on Thursday evenings or wandered down to Junction Oval to watch a dead rubber during a Sunday.
Cricketing people can be a funny flip flopping lot, and all the talk of not supporting could end up changing within the early weeks of the league, as those just hungry to hear the crack of the ball at the MCG, and the idea of cricket at The Dome stadium getting the better of our curiosity. Club sides will get the kids and non-cricketing people into support, a large influx of non-cricketing migrants can assimilate themselves with a team rather than a place of birth.
The bright colors of the uniforms for all my dislikes, I’m sure will invoke an eager eye from the younger audience, and most important price. Price for the matches is as little as $20 AUS and with most sides putting together very competitive memberships from a seven games to 2 games.
The season itself is only 7 matches long per. side, plus the inevitable range of play-offs and knockouts, on the way to a spectacle of a Grand Final, which will no doubt involve some form of former pop-star singing, and enough fireworks to send all dogs in the Western Suburbs to be found in Mornington.
By only playing 7 games, it is clear indication that the CA don’t want to be left with a slow dying elephant in the room if this all goes to pot, but at the same time the teasing of the public could then see an increase in matches come what may of another season of colorful cricket.
I for one have the lucky opportunity to be on my travels to Melbourne in time to see the “Stars” of Melbourne (possibly minus any Victorians) take on a “scorching” team from Perth, for of course a full and frank report will given.