Steve Smith’s Brilliance Reinforces Why Australia’s Premier Cricket Must Play in the Big Bash League

Steve Smith’s Brilliance Reinforces Why Australia’s Premier Cricket Must Play in the Big Bash League

Forget about gimmicks, tactical innovations and even megawatt international drawcards to spark interest. Above all, homegrown heroes trump all your home leagues. That is true for any sport, anywhere in the world.

Steve Smith, one of Australia’s greatest ever bowlers, is proving his worth during a stunning return to the rejuvenated Big Bash Series where he has hit two blistering hundreds in front of soaring crowds.

During the much-anticipated clash between Sydney’s crosstown rivals, and a match-up with fellow national superstar David Warner, Smith smashed an unbeaten 125 off 66 balls to become the second batsman in BBL history to score centuries for his together.

A lasting image – apart from his continuous power hitting marked by the beautiful thud of the ball hitting the bat’s sweet spot – was Smith raising his bat and helmet to a frenzied crowd of nearly 40,000 at the pristine Sydney Cricket Ground.

This capped off a bounce-back season for the ill-fated BBL, which has been marred by a couple of seasons of the Covid-19 pandemic already taking a turn for the worse after its mid-season surges. the last ten years.

A number of Australian stars, led by Smith and Warner – Australia’s best batsmen of the past decade – returned to the BBL for rare appearances. For Warner, whose struggles are unlike Smith’s, this was his first time playing in the BBL since December 2013.

The pair are getting paid handsomely – reportedly around AUD $80,000 ($55,000) per game on Warner The Age a newspaper.

But the investment is worth it as their presence helps the BBL end the loss of foreign players who pack their bags for the more lucrative startup leagues in the UAE.
UAE
and South Africa.

Momentum has been building through a season full of exciting games, great performances and controversy. The BBL attracted a lot of attention with the help of a lackluster international summer, which saw Australia beat listless West Indies and South Africa in Test series on the underdogs.

South Africa have controversially pulled out of a three-match ODI series set for mid-January – in a bid to get their stars to play in their new T20 series – that Cricket Australia has cashed in on.

The ODI series would have struggled to gain traction due to its growing lack of relevance and the free space for the BBL has given it an opportunity to gain traction.

Many people have proven it for some time now – the BBL should have a designated slot in the Australian calendar for much of January. If other Australian players like Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were able to participate then the BBL would really rise to another level.

But it has been difficult for Cricket Australia to navigate the crowded calendar with their priorities apparently still on international cricket – unlike other countries such as South Africa who know there are financial headwinds in franchise T20 cricket.

With a billion dollar broadcast deal, Cricket Australia is clearly not financially strapped but is clearly keen for the BBL to succeed and regain its position as the summer’s hottest ticket after a negative outlook for a few years now.

The best way to do that is to attract the best local players to the competition and create spectacles like the SCG ‘Sydney smash’.

The BBL is in the midst of renewal and will be shorter next year after complaints – from players and fans – that its season is almost two months too long.

It probably fits snugly into its prime slot in the Australian school holidays from mid-December to January with a few weeks shaved off the current extended length.

But the crammed international scheduling could take a hit next summer as Pakistan and the West Indies tour Australia again.

The slumping West Indies, who are sadly struggling to generate much interest, are likely to play a couple of Tests in late January/early February which would turn down the likes of Smith and players other Australians from being able to compete much if at all in the BBL.

It’s admirable that Australia still puts Test cricket on a pedestal – only another Englishman does that.

But maybe other nations read the writing on the wall – especially India whose players are not allowed to compete in any T20 leagues other than their own – make sure they have dedicated windows.

There is a lot of money to be made and he ensures that his local stars can put on a show for the fans.

As demonstrated so beautifully at the SCG during an unforgettable night, it seems the Australian fans want too.

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