Cricket fans have been pleading for the sport’s biggest stars to feature in the BBL, and a former Australian great knows the solution.
Cricket fans have been pleading for the sport’s biggest stars to feature in the BBL, and a former Australian great knows the solution.

Solution to BBL’s most glaring flaw

Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has joined a chorus of current and past players calling for the Big Bash League to be shortened.

Symonds believes more of the sport's biggest names will be willing to take part in the BBL if the competition's duration was reduced.

The T20 tournament kicked off on Thursday evening, and will conclude with a finals series in early February.

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The Big Bash League lasted five weeks during its early years, and featured a cluster of the world's most exciting cricketers.

Along with some Australian sporting icons - including Matthew Hayden, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill - the competition boasted several T20 powerhouses, who remain household names to this day.

Muttiah Muralitharan was spinning webs for the Melbourne Renegades, Chris Gayle was plundering sixes for the Sydney Thunder and Lasith Malinga was shattering records for the Melbourne Stars.

Lasith Malinga celebrates the wicket of Marcus North.
Lasith Malinga celebrates the wicket of Marcus North.

But with the exception Afghanistan tweaker Rashid Khan and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, the BBL doesn't seem to attract the same calibre of talent.

Australian stars Pat Cummins and David Warner haven't played a Big Bash match for several years, and the likes of AB de Villiers or Dale Steyn are only willing to commit to a few weeks.

Although the BBL will never be able to match the lucrative contracts on offer in the IPL, Symonds believes there's a simple solution.

"They need to shorten the tournament," Symonds said at Fox Cricket's BBL season launch on Wednesday. "It's too long.

"Players can go and play in other countries for a lot less period of time and earn a lot more money, so you're not going to attract the international players."

Cummins admitted the condensed home summer makes it difficult to allocate time for the Big Bash League. The paceman has played one BBL match since 2016.

"Every summer at around this time is the busiest time for the international schedule," Cummins told news.com.au as an ambassador for Swiss watchmaker Hublot.

"I loved my time in the BBL when I have played. If windows arise that make sense, then of course I'll take that up and be back playing there."

Three of England's most entertaining T20 players - Tom Curran, Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton - were expected to light up the Big Bash this summer.

But unfortunately, the British trio have each withdrawn from the tournament, citing bubble fatigue as a primary reason.

Sixers all-rounder Tom Curran celebrates a wicket.
Sixers all-rounder Tom Curran celebrates a wicket.

READ MORE: BBL stunned by bizarre changes

The coronavirus pandemic has undeniably made it difficult for overseas players to venture Down Under, particularly when considering the strict travel restrictions.

"With all the isolation required, you've 14 days at either end of your trip," Symonds said. "So for those players to come, it's got to be really worth their while … it's an extra month away from family and friends.

"The world we live in, the goalposts have moved to the other end of the field. It's just different what you have to think about now as a player.

"I suppose, as a cricket fan, you've probably got to bear that in mind, as to what the players can actually do, because what they have to do now behind-the-scene when they finish playing their cricket.

"Players are trying to work out what's best for them - family, financially, individually and physically - so there's a lot to balance up in a season, especially for the best players in the world, who have demands coming in from all over the world."

 

Originally published as Solution to BBL's most glaring flaw


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