Perth’s victory over Brisbane in the Big Bash final was the perfect capstone to a brilliant comeback season for the T20 league, but where does the competition go from here?
- After a strong comeback season, the BBL will consider returning to it’s former schedule
- The BBL increased from ten to 14 matches per season several years ago
- Fans have been unanimous in their desire to revert back to the old format, citing fatigue with the lengthy season
After several listless summers, the BBL experienced a resurgence in popularity over recent months and the hits could keep on coming with the competition’s General Manager Alistair Dobson revealing the league could consider going back to the abbreviated schedule of past years.
Currently, each side plays 14 games per season, up from the previous 10-match campaigns, with fans struggling to sustain interest through the lengthy schedule.
The current format is locked into the television rights deal for at least two more seasons but Dobson said the competition’s key stakeholders would meet to discuss a possible change sooner rather than later.
“I wouldn’t put a date on it other than to say it’s relatively urgent if we’re going to make that decision based on scheduling and player contracting and all those other factors that kick off in the next month or two,” Dobson told ABC Sport.
“We’ll be on to that pretty quick, or at least having the discussion and it’s important we get those big pillars locked away for next season and give everyone else a chance to plan.
“It’s in the deal from two seasons time. There’s appetite from all stakeholders to take a look at it when we sit down over the next couple of weeks and discuss the pros and cons, and look at the international schedule and what next summer looks like.
“Without putting a number on it, it’s certainly something we’ll look at it.”
A shorter schedule could also lead to more international and Australian stars playing in the competition for it’s duration.
The BBL has always thrived when the game’s biggest names have had the chance to play and this season was no exception with Australia’s Test side giving the latter stages of the league a shot in the arm when they returned following the series victories over the West Indies and South Africa.
“It’s a year-by-year proposition in terms of what the shape of the Australian summer looks like, whether our Test team can play much of the BBL.
“We saw this year the role they can play and the impact they have.
“This year we were able to map or largely plan the player involvement, where it was mainly overseas players at the beginning and Australian players in the second half and that was a bit by design and a bit by good fortune in terms of how the schedule laid out.
“We’re obviously working with the ACA (Australian Cricketer’s Association) for a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for next year which will hopefully explore a change in the salary cap and give us a chance to be as competitive as we can globally, whether that’s with big name international players or the biggest name Australian players.
“A reduced season, if that’s next season or the season after, is another factor.
“We hear that loud and clear from the players, particularly those from overseas where the length of the competition has been a bit of a barrier in the past.”
The images of Saturday night’s final, where the Scorchers claimed yet another title in front of a rapturous home crowd of over 50,000, are proof of the Big Bash’s resurgence and Dobson believes the competition’s best days are yet to come.
“We’ve certainly made a rebound this year after a couple of tough years, I think we’ve achieved a lot but we won’t be resting on our laurels. There’s still a lot to achieve next year,” Dobson said.
“We heard loud and clear that the fans saw this season what they wanted to see in the BBL in terms of amazing cricket, close games and being able to get up close to their heroes, something they hadn’t been able to do the last couple of seasons.
“What we’ve achieved this year is just getting started in terms of where we want to take the competition over the next four or five years.”