BBL12 Finals: Are Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers too good?
The Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers once again proved the gap between the best and the rest in the BBL. And the League organizers are considering changes to end their reign.
Big Bash organizers are forced to analyze the remarkable dominance of the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers and ponder the question – are they too good?
Even if the Brisbane Heat continue their hot streak in Thursday’s elimination finals, that doesn’t change the fact that the Scorchers and Sixers are miles ahead of their rivals in terms of consistent performance.
If it had been a four-team playoff series—as many think it should be—the Heat would have missed the cut.
Sydney Thunder was eliminated for 15 during the season but finished fourth, which is perhaps the most vivid example of the gulf that exists between the best and the rest.
The Scorchers have won four Big Bash titles, the Sixers three, and then it’s just one each for the Heat, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades – to duck eggs for Hobart and the Melbourne Stars.
Perth in particular, with a sell-out of 50,000 expected for Saturday’s final at Optus Stadium, represents the BBL’s biggest success story and at the same time its biggest headache.
“Every league in every sport is underpinned by a sense of competitive balance and the notion that any team can win at the start of any season,” Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s Big Bash manager, told News Corp.
“We have a couple of clubs that have been phenomenal in their consistency and record over 12 years. They should be commended for that and from our point of view every other club can continue to strive to be as successful as these special teams.
“And at the same time, we would like to see that next year all eight teams go into the season with real hopes of winning. Because that’s how you get fans interested and involved in the competition.”
The Big Bash League broke previous records for Foxtel Group, with tournament attendances soaring to almost a quarter million per game this summer.
In a turning point for Fox Cricket after serious questions about the future and viewer appeal of BBL, the 33 per cent annual increase in overall ratings this summer to 248,000 per game across Foxtel, Fox Now, Foxtel Go and Kayo Sports shows the popularity of the domestic T20 has never been higher.
Streaming has seen the biggest growth with a 52 percent increase in viewership as audiences become accustomed to viewing on mobile phones or other devices.
The innovation, led by Fox Cricket General Manager Matt Weiss, has seen current players such as David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Alyssa Healy join a commentator rotation among a host of big names, providing coverage with on-pitch interviews and player access on has taken the next level.
“This has been the best BBL season yet and much credit goes to our hard working commentators and production team at Fox Cricket who continue to innovate and lead the way in sports broadcasting,” said Weiss.
“It’s been a huge cricket summer and we’re not done yet. The remaining two BBL finals
become absolute blockbusters and then we have exclusive coverage of them
Australian men’s tour of India and a women’s T20 world championship on defense in South Africa.”
But next summer there won’t be any testers riding in like white knights to give the competition a boost mid-tournament with test matches scheduled through January.
WILL THE BIG BASH GO TO A DOMESTIC PLAYER DRAFT?
The first thing Big Bash bosses need to figure out is how much of the dominance of the Scorchers and Sixers is due to a talent mismatch and how much of that is due to simply being better managed.
Western Australia is currently the premier organization in state cricket. Brilliantly directed by CEO Christina Matthews and well coached by Warriors and Scorchers Coach Adam Voges. But the scorchers also undoubtedly benefit from the fact that the WA system produces more Australian players than any other.
The opposite is happening in South Australia, where the Redbacks’ chronic struggles are not helping the Adelaide Strikers (seventh this season).
For that reason, a domestic player’s Big Bash draft is being seriously considered – to try to shake up the gaming pool and create greater separation between the state rosters and their BBL rosters.
“The BBL was founded on really important principles that while the BBL teams are essentially managed and operated by state associations, it is an independent franchise competition with clubs recruiting players from across the country who don’t necessarily aligned with their own state programs,” Dobson said.
“I think the comp has been really successful across the board in getting players across the country to play for the teams they want. Whether there are new mechanisms to help make this possible is obviously the discussion we are having and there are many different options.
“It’s inherently healthy for competition for players to move around in competitions as it’s another way to promote competitive balance within teams, as long as it’s done in a way that gives players and clubs all options.”
The Sixers have managed to maintain their success despite having been inferior to NSW cricket as a talent pool for many years – which poses an even bigger problem for the Australian game.
Perhaps it’s largely the culture and structures nurtured by leaders Greg Shipperd and Moises Henriques that have used the right formula for the success of the T20 franchise while other teams like Hobart and the Stars have not.
WILL THERE BE FEWER BIG BASH MATCHES NEXT YEAR?
Nothing is finalized yet, but it seems inevitable that next year’s Big Bash will be reduced from 61 games to 43 games – a season before the start of the new TV rights deal.
“I think there’s some interest in reducing games for next season, but there’s a bit of water going under the bridge,” Dobson said.
WOULD TEST PLAYERS PARTICIPATE IN A DRAFT?
Nothing is off the table, but it’s more likely playtesters would agree with the team they’d rather play for than be forced to relocate.
However, it may have to be within reason as the Sixers could have Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon all running for them if the planets align.
The organizers are more keen to create a mechanism that allows playtesters to be easily added to lists if they become available at the last moment.
“Probably the best model for us is for them to stay with those teams, but in a way that reaffirms that competitive balance, so the system is flexible enough to allow them to play in a way that offers transparency and all can stand on the same competitive basis,” Dobson said.
WILL MAXWELL AND ZAMPA BE AFFECTED LIKE SMITH AND WARNER?
This year has seen many noses out of joint as Cricket Australia squandered money on foreign stars and made special provisions for Smith and Warner – but not the same for its more consistent white ball stars like Maxwell, Zampa and Marcus Stoinis.
That will change with the significantly increased upper salary limit.
“It’s a big part of our work what the future contract model and salary cap will be, which means these players should be properly rewarded and rewarded for playing,” Dobson said.
“We are quite confident that this will be the case with the new MoU.
“One thing we particularly agree with the ACA on is the need for the BBL and WBBL to be globally competitive. It’s a combination of the amount of money we pay and the contractual mechanisms in place.”
ARE PENALTIES REVIEWED FOR PLAYERS MAKING ON AIR GAFFES?
“I think at the end of the year, like every season, we will sit down with our players, broadcasters, match officials and key stakeholders and review the season and there will be general feedback,” Dobson said.
“We hear all of this feedback loud and clear from everyone and the players are really generous with their time and in an elite professional environment when they talk about the game it does the viewers and fans so much good.
“It’s important for the players to feel like they can do it and feel comfortable doing it. At the same time, we pay attention to our audience and make sure the game is presented appropriately.”
Originally posted as BBL News: Cricket Australia explores ways to lessen Perth Scorchers Sydney Sixers dominance
https://www.codesports.com.au/cricket/bbl-news-cricket-australia-examines-ways-to-reduce-dominance-of-perth-scorchers-sydney-sixers/news-story/19bb221a5599dea8ba9241288de17ba7?nk=2ca7d21dd2e415276ec5273a8af7ba34-1675288688 BBL12 Finals: Are Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers too good?