‘Greed will finish BBL’: Stars pick sides
AUSTRALIAN white-ball superstar and Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell has backed the Big Bash season length, going head-to-head with Brisbane Heat superstar Chris Lynn and former teammate Kevin Pietersen.
It comes after Lynn was quoted as saying the BBL season was too long.
But Maxwell has thrown his hat into the debate, labelling the longer season a work in progress.
"There's obviously going to be some backlash when you make changes to a great product which is the BBL," he said.
"I think if we give it some time it could grow on people but I could understand the debate about the long part of the tournament.
"For (the Stars), it's great because I don't think we were in the four after 10 games. We've got the opportunity to cement ourselves in that top four."
The comments come Lynn and Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques voiced their concerns on either side of the issue.
Outspoken former English star Kevin Pietersen had a less politically correct view of the reason behind the longer season.
"I said this last year" he tweeted. "Greed will finish the BBL. No need for more games."
Brisbane Heat big-hitter Lynn took a swipe at Cricket Australia when he claimed that players were suffering burnout in the wake of their capitulation at the hands of the Melbourne Stars on Sunday.
"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."
Sydney Sixers skipper Moises Henriques hit back at Lynn said the Indian Premier League was as long as the BBL and the unfamiliarity may affect certain players.
"I played eight IPLs now and all those IPL seasons are 14 games long and in less time than this," Henriques said.
"I'm used to doing it but other players who aren't used to playing T20 tournaments may struggle.
"I think we've had a decent draw, we've had six games away in a row, and now we've had five games at home in a row. Any sort of fatigue we've been feeling after that away trip, we've been able to freshen up now."
And Henriques wasn't the only one.
ICC women's T20 player of the year Alyssa Healy was joined by former Aussie star turned commentator Lisa Sthalekar to rubbish Lynn's claims.
The WBBL used to have a brutal schedule with every season having 59 games, including in early seasons where teams would have to play multiple games in a day.
In the fourth week of the first season of the competition, the Perth Scorchers played four games in three days.
Henriques said he and his teammates weren't feeling the ill effects of the expanded competition and were fresh three games out from the finals.
"From a player's point of view, I'm still loving it," Henriques said. "I have noticed the crowds aren't as high as what they were last year. I don't know if that's resonating with the TV ratings as well.
"I definitely notice the SCG isn't as full as it has been. But having said that you're spreading the crowds across seven (home) games rather than five."
For the record, Lynn played 16 matches in the last IPL and has played 28 matches since 2012.
The BBL expanded this year from 43 games (over 10 rounds) to 59 games (over 14 rounds) as part of the game's $1.1 billion television deal with Fox Sports and Channel 7.
Fans have been slamming the longer season with audiences voting with their feet and taking digs on social media.
The current format is locked in for the duration of the six-year broadcast agreement which has seen the tournament extended by 13 days in 2018-19 compared to the last year.
Cricket Australia has gone into damage control talks with Big Bash broadcasters over fears of decline in the young domestic competition.
Reports indicated the broadcasters of the Big Bash were fighting to improve the standard of the seven-week, non-stop tournament with a number of demands to Cricket Australia.
Maxwell also had a say about the increased BBL salary cap after his side was hurt after losing star spinner Sandeep Lamichhane who chose bigger money in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Lamichhane joins the likes of AB de Villiers and Andre Russell in Bangladesh, enticed by the bigger salary cap and four weeks of competition.
Although Lamichhane is expected to be back at the back end of the competition, Maxwell said the salary cap needs a huge rethink.
"I think when you're expanding the competition and making it 14 games (each), you've probably got to be expanding the salary cap a little bit more just to make sure you can get those signings in otherwise we are going to be competing," he said.
"I think the Pakistan Super League, the Emirates league, could start to take our overseas players and the Bangladesh Premier League's obviously got Sandeep throughout the middle of our tournament.
"We don't want to be competing with these other T20 leagues, we want people to be choosing the Big Bash as their first priority.
"Whether that be increasing the salary cap, I'm not really sure, or just having a separate salary cap for the overseas players entirely."
Cricket Australia (CA) chief Kevin Roberts has indicated the league's $1.7 million salary cap will be reviewed but it may not satisfy broadcasters Seven and Fox Cricket, who reportedly want a "major" cap increase and additional marquee slots for each side.
Any decision on the BBL salary cap would have to balance concerns about potentially taking opportunities and money away from domestic cricketers, and would require consultation with the Australian Cricketers' Association.
- with AAP
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