Former Australia cricketer Shane Watson feels that the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) have maintained a good standard of the game as compared to the Big Bash League (BBL).
“I know all too well that the quality of the cricket that is being played in the BBL is now behind some of the tournaments around the world,” Watson, who plays for Chennai Super Kings(CSK) in the IPL, wrote in his blog T20 Stars.
“The one thing that the IPL and PSL do is make the quality of the cricket, the product, the number one priority. This is where the BBL has really lost its way. The quality of the cricket has been put on the back burner in the Big Bash and the entertainment gimmicks have been brought to the forefront,” Watson further stated on his blog.
Earlier, BBL used to host 32 league matches but after Cricket Australia penned a new broadcasting deal in 2018, the league stage was extended to 56 matches, which Watson feels led to a fall in the popularity of the league.
The former Aussie all-rounder had also suggested ideas to tackle the dip in the popularity of the league. He felt the introduction of pitches matching those used in T20Is and a reduction in the number of foreign players from four to two or three could help resolve this issue but his suggestions were not taken into consideration.
“The tournament is just too long. It’s disappointing for all of the families that follow the season so closely until school goes back, and the last thing parents want is for their kids to stay up [until] nearly midnight watching the matches on a school night,” Watson pointed out.
“As the BBL is comprised of 8 teams, the talent pool is already stretched pretty thin and now with the extension of the tournament, it is a challenge to keep your best players fit. Right now, if a team gets a few injuries, the franchise has to continue to find club cricketers to fill in. This happened way too many times during the season just gone. If the BBL wants to be one of the best T20 leagues in the world they need to have the best players in the world participating in the league.”