Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum on Wednesday called for the introduction of a team from his country in Australia’s Big Bash League to boost audience interest in the T20 competition.
All cricket is on hold right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through the globe with several tours and tournaments being either cancelled or postponed. Even the future of the T20 World Cup, scheduled for an October 18 start, is shrouded in uncertainty.
Several countries, including Australia have imposed travel restrictions, and McCullum feels adding a team from New Zealand in the tournament could pique the interest of the audience in the league, which has suffered a dip in crowd and TV numbers in the past two years.
“What an opportunity for the Big Bash if there’s a shortage of international cricket,” McCullum told ‘SEN Radio’.
“If we’re being honest, the Big Bash has tailed off a little bit in its following of late and what a great opportunity to really launch that back into Australian sporting fans’ eyes and what a great opportunity to bring a New Zealand team in the BBL,” he added.
The former captain also suggested removing the “overseas” cap on New Zealand players as several international players may not be able to compete if the COVID-19 restrictions continue.
“Perhaps you could even use New Zealand players as local players because there may be a distinct lack of overseas players who will want to travel, especially high-quality ones,” McCullum said
“A little bit of creative thinking and another opportunity to get some New Zealanders across Tasman,” he added.
Talks for a trans-Tasman bubble, which will alow travel between the two countries, have been on at the government level as cases of coronavirus in both countries continue to drop.
Last week, Australian officials granted 36 New Zealand rugby players and staff a rare exemption from the country’s ban on international arrivals.