IPL prioritises quality of cricket, BBL has lost its way: Shane Watson | Daily News


IPL prioritises quality of cricket, BBL has lost its way: Shane Watson

Shane Watson
Shane Watson

The expansion of the Big Bash League from 32 group matches to 56 has not impressed Shane Watson who feels the BBL is now “too long”, which in turn has compromised the quality of cricket that is played.

In comparison, Watson praised rival T20 league, the IPL, crediting the tournament, along with PSL, for keeping the standard of cricket as priority.

“I know all too well that the quality of the cricket that is being played in the BBL is now behind some of the tournaments around the world,” Watson, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, wrote on his blog T20 Stars.

“The one thing that the IPLIPL and PSL do is make the quality of the cricket, the product, the number one priority. This is where the BBL has really lost its way. The quality of the cricket has been put on the back burner in the Big Bash and the entertainment gimmicks have been brought to the forefront,” Watson wrote on his blog T20 stars.”

The lack of average attendance has been a growing concern for BBL and its organisers. During the 2016-17 seasons, when the league games were confined to 32 matches, the average attendance was around 30,000, which fell to around 18,000 previous season. The move to expand the number of league matches to 56 was related to the new broadcasting deal signed by Cricket Australia in 2018. Watson had suggested ideas to help address the slide in popularity of the league, where he mentioned ideas such as introduction of pitches matching those used in T20 internationals and reduction of foreign players from 4 to two or three. But Watson’s suggestions seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

“The tournament is just too long. It’s disappointing for all of the families that follow the season so closely until school goes back, and the last thing parents want is for their kids to stay up [until] nearly midnight watching the matches on a school night,” Watson pointed out.

“As the BBL is comprised of 8 teams, the talent pool is already stretched pretty thin and now with the extension of the tournament, it is a challenge to keep your best players fit. Right now, if a team gets a few injuries, the franchise has to continue to find club cricketers to fill in. This happened way too many times during the season just gone. If the BBL wants to be one of the best T20 leagues in the world they need to have the best players in the world participating in the league.”

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