1. It’s too long
Seven weeks including a weeks break for the T20 internationals was too long. Five weeks would have been plenty, finishing on the Australia Day weekend and nicely fitting within the school holidays. This truncated season could be achieved by better use of the summer time zones in Australia to play more double headers and by scheduling games on Monday nights after the Christmas/New Year period which for some reason didn’t happen this season. The Melbourne Stars had an 10 day break during the tournament – teams should be playing twice a week at least, it’s only T20.
According to Paul Marsh of the Australian Cricketers Association the ideal time to hold the Big Bash is for 4-5 weeks in October, because it allows Australian players to participate as it doesn’t coincide with the Tests and international fixtures. Wait and see on that but for the next 4 seasons the BBL is locked into the December-January time slot due to the TV contract with Channel 10.
2. Finals could be rethought
For the second consecutive season the team that has finished on top of the BBL table has been knocked out by the team who finished who just scraped into fourth position. With Champions Leagues spots on the line for the winning semi finalists it doesn’t quite seem the right balance to play 8 regular season games only to have the right for a lucrative champions league berth come down to one game.
Some alternatives are:
Award the two Champions League spots to the premiers and the minor premiers, that is the team that finishes on top and the team that wins the Big Final.
Go to the McIntyre Final 4 where 1st and 2nd get a double chance and there are four games in total.
Game 1: 1 v 2
Game 2: 3 v 4
Game 3: Winner of 3 v 4 plays the loser of 1 v 2
Game 4: Winner of 1 v 2 plays the winner of Game 3
Or try this 3 game finals series
Game 1: 3 v 4
Game 2: 2 v winner game 1
Game 3: 1 v winner game 2
3. Channel 10 coverage was refreshing
Gilchrist, Ponting, Fleming and Mark Waugh were informative and polished, had the the right balance between entertaining and giving cricket insights and were a welcome change to the Channel 9 commentary team. Viv Richards was a great choice as a guest commentator, Mark Howard was ok but we could have done without Andy Maher – he added nothing to the coverage, in fact he detracted from it with his frequent mistakes. Mel McLaughlin was a good choice in the hosting role even if it was hard to understand why Channel 10 flew someone around the country to host for 10 minutes pre-match, 10 minutes in the innings break, 15 minutes post match and nothing else. Mel was under utilised, kick Andy Maher out of the commentary box and bring in Mel.
Not so great was the KFC Million Dollar Six competition complete with (D Grade) celebrity catcher and a home viewer usually wearing a KFC bucket on their head. Not surprisingly the money didn’t go off, as the celebrity catcher was positioned on a 5m x 5m platform so would have to be incredibly lucky to have a six hit to them let alone catch it.
4. Dwayne Bravo is smooth.
Mel McLaughlin has gained plenty of fans over the BBL but none more so than Dwayne Bravo who propositioned her on live TV after receiving his man of the match award. He’s line was something like ‘I’d just like to say hello to Mel, I met her once in Sydney and she is still very beautiful.’ Smooth., Mr Bravo, very smooth.
5. Teams are forging traditions
Sydney Thunder lived up to their tradition of collecting the wooden spoon but did mange to win a game this season. It was their first win in 753 days.
Despite allegedly paying the big bucks to bankroll their ‘galaxy’ of Melbourne Stars, the team continues to choke at the business end of the season, this time losing their only game of the season in the knockout semi and missing out on the cash cow Champions League. Apparently the promise of Champions League dollars has been one of the key factors convincing this stellar constellation to remain together on less money and fit under the salary cap. So after missing out on the CLT20 it remains to be seen if this group will remain together. Another way the Stars have worked around the salary cap is making Brad Hodge the batting coach. But this is strictly above board as all the coaching he gives has to be diarised and his speeches to the players even videotaped. If his tweets are anything to go by there’d be some interesting speeches.
Perth Scorchers hosted the Big Final at The Furnace for the 3rd consecutive time but got the right result for the first time.
6. The XI
1. Ben Dunk (Hobart Hurricanes)
Player of the torunament opening the batting for Hobart
2. Craig Simmons (Perth Scorchers)
Hit two centuries including the fastest in BBL history – just 39 balls. Simmons rose from the obscurity of a Western Power apprenticeship and club cricket to become the story of BBL|03.
3. Mike Hussey (Sydney Thunder)
Took on the crucial No 3 position and captaincy at Sydney Thunder and lead his team admirably almost single handedly dragging them over the line on several occasions.
4. Chris Lynn (Brisbane Heat)
Displayed such powerful hitting and qucik scoring batting in the middle order that he received his first national call up.
5. Brad Hodge (Melbourne Stars)
Took on a new role in the Melbourne Stars as the finisher coming in lower down the order to provide plenty of runs and a surpirse Australian recall
6. Tim Paine (Hobart Hurricanes)
The best gloveman in the competition and chipped in with runs as well, including a match winning knock in the Big Semi.
7. Ben Cutting (Brisbane Heat)
His destructive batting was underutilised by Brisbane Heat but Cutting is a genuine allrounder in the T20 format
8. Yasir Arafat (Perth Scorchers)
Great death bowling by Arafat producing the lost art of yorkers whenever required. Unlucky to miss the Big Final due to injury.
9. John Hastings (Melbourne Stars)
The Duke took 13 wickets and only conceded 6.15 runs per over. A fine display of variety in his medium fast bowling repertoire.
10. Cameron Boyce (Hobart Hurricanes)
Despite the hysteria around Brad Hogg in the BBL final and James Muirhead getting picked for Australia, legspinner Boyce was actually the best performed spinner in the BBL with 10 wickets.
11. Chris Gannon (Brisbane Heat)
The right arm paceman was the leading wicket take in BBL|03 with 18 wickets
7. The Jade Dernbach Award
Before South African Englishmen Jade Dernbach bowled pathetically in the T20s v Australia this year he bowled just as badly for the Melbourne Stars in BBL01, was promptly dropped after two games and hasn’t had a BBL contract since ( England take note). Hence the award for worst international signing of the Big Bash season is named after him.
The nominees are:
Dwayne Smith (Perth Scorchers) for not showing up.
Alfonso Thomas (Perth Scorchers) managed just four wickets in 8 matches and at 8 an over – at 36 time might be up for Justin Langer’s mate.
Chris Tremlett (Sydney Sixers) played only one game before being omitted, leaving the team playing just one international. He’d gone home before the finals started.
Owais Shah (Hobart Hurricanes) was one of the most destructive batsmen in BBL01 but was sadly out of touch this time around, managing 52 runs in 6 games before he was dropped. He’d also left the country before the finals began.
And the winner is…
Shaoib Malik (Hobart Hurricanes) he might have gained 8 wickets but in his main role as a top order batsmen he managed just 75 runs in 9 hits and was pretty much a liability in the field shelling catches at will. He was recalled by the Pakistan Cricket Board and couldn’t particiapte in the BBL Final which was probably a good thing for Hobart.