‘Cooked’: Star unloads over cricket shift
Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn has taken a cheeky swipe at the Big Bash League after the 2020/21 season's schedule was made public on Wednesday.
The tenth BBL competition once again features 56 home and away fixtures, but despite calls from fans to shorten the tournament's duration, BBL|10 will run for more than two months, making it the longest Big Bash in history.
After the competition gets underway on December 3rd - coinciding with day one of Australia's first Test match against India - the final group stage fixture is scheduled for January 26th, before a grand final on February 6th.
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Clashes with the Test series makes it highly unlikely international stars David Warner, Steve Smith or Pat Cummins would be able to play any Big Bash matches, with two one-day series also scheduled for January.
An open advocate for shortening the BBL, T20 superstar Lynn couldn't resist voicing his frustration on social media.
"The Golden Goose has been cooked again," Lynn posted in a tweet which has since been deleted.
In January 2019, Lynn suggested Big Bash players were suffering burn out as a result of the longer tournament, where each team plays at least 14 matches.
"I think 14 games is too many," Lynn said.
"You do get a few breaks in between, here and there, but it just drags out.
"I don't want to be too soft or anything like that, but that's just the vibe I'm getting."
As crowds dramatically plummeted, several current and former players agreed with Lynn, calling for the Big Bash duration to be reduced.
Australian great Shaun Tait tweeted: "The big bash is a brilliant tournament but please shorten it, this crowd turn out is embarrassing, it's dragging on."
Legendary batsman Matthew Hayden said in February: "It does tend to lose a bit of interest when we come out of our Christmas slumber."
Australian one-day player Glenn Maxwell believed: "I just think 14 games is just a little bit much. It just makes for a very long tournament and probably goes for a touch too long.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen bluntly stated: Greed will finish the BBL."
Even Shane Warne thought last season's BBL was "too long".
Cricket fans: The BBL is too way long.— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) July 15, 2020
Cricket Australia: Good news then, this season will be two weeks longer. #BBL
Although fans may recoil at the thought of a two-month BBL tournament, an extended competition is a necessary consequence of the coronavirus epidemic.
Considering the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, a longer time frame would assist rescheduling postponed and abandoned matches. The AFL's desperate scramble to reallocate players throughout June and July is proof extra dates would be a beneficial asset.
Similarly, Cricket Australia was hit with a hefty financial loss from the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Bash is one of the sport's biggest revenue generators, and it would therefore be in CA's best interest to schedule more games in prime time slots.
As pointed out by ESPNcricinfo reporter Daniel Brettig, only two of 56 regular season matches start before 5pm eastern daylight time.
BBL boss Alistair Dobson said being able to announce a full fixture against the backdrop of the challenging COVID-19 environment was a "significant achievement".
"As the BBL approaches its tenth season, the League, our Clubs and our Partners are doing everything possible to ensure that we are set and ready to go for a great Summer of Big Bash," Dobson said.
"Scheduling in the time of coronavirus is not without its challenges, as we have seen in elite sporting conditions at home and abroad, and there are factors outside the League itself which could impact the fixture at a later date.
"That said, at this time, we are happy with the fixture as it stands and excited to celebrate a decade of Big Bash with Australian fans during the summer.
"It should ensure that more BBL matches are played in prime time and enable the regular season to again finish inside the school holidays which was a key objective, particularly in light of the busy international schedule planned for the coming summer.
"We will also be making more announcements in due course about enhancements to the League that we are confident will excite and delight fans across the country."
Despite the extended season, Sydney Sixers General Manager Jodie Hawkins is adamant overseas talent won't be deterred from signing with a BBL club.
"There's been a lot of cricket that's been cancelled over the last six months, which might mean some of the players might be more willing to come to places like Australia," Hawkins told Wide World of Sports.
"Australia is a desirable destination anyway, where else would you want to be over summer?
"That's heightened at the moment, when you look at the other cricket-playing countries and where they're at in regards to COVID, we're in a pretty good position.
"So it might work in our favour this year, but realistically we're never going to solve the salary cap issue, we're never going to have the money to compete with the IPL or the BPL."
The WBBL fixtures were also released on Wednesday, with the stand-alone tournament to commence in October before the grand final in late November.
- With NCA Newswire
Originally published as 'Cooked': Star unloads over cricket shift
There are going to be several nights when Big Bash matches are going head-to-head with day-night Test cricket and possibly a few ODIs. The exact India tour schedule is still being haggled over but clashes are inevitable. There's BBL every night except Christmas.— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) July 15, 2020