Adam Voges, the Perth Scorchers coach, has delivered a strong criticism of the 14-game length of the steady Big Bash League season, while opting for some cautious optimism approximately rule changes which have been brought in as an attempt to “spice up” the tournament after several years of declining broadcast audiences.
In a week when there was a number of criticism of the introduction of changes including a substitute player, the splitting of Powerplay overs into an initial four followed by a floating two moderately than the standard six at the start of an innings, and the adding of a race for a bonus point at the 10-over mark of a match, Voges said the main issue for the league used to be player availability.
At its current 14-game season length, Voges said that not enough of the most productive players – both native and in another country – were in a position to participate. While all clubs and players have long accepted Cricket Australia’s desire to run the tournament through the school holiday period to make sure maximum exposure to children in specific, its rapid growth from eight to 10 to 14 games has only added pressure to sustain interest in the event through the acquisition of bigger name players.
“Yeah I’ve got a view on this, I think the season is too long,” Voges told ABC Radio. “I’ve love to see it reduced a little bit and find a window where we will get the most productive players playing. That’s an important part, I think that is what makes the product, it’s aimed still at families and attracting new people to the game, so whether we will do that by having the most productive players playing, and whether that means a shorter, sharper format, then I’m all for it.”
Defenders of the tournament’s length at CA have argued that at 14 games it is still shorter than an AFL or NRL season, while at the same time out-rating both in the case of broadcast audiences, despite a marked decline that began in 2017. On the other hand there is not any top-tier Australian domestic league that competes with the international variant of the same game at the same time, and it is lucid that the “major event” buzz surrounding the early seasons of the BBL had much to do with shorter, sharper schedules.
Davie Barham, the former Ten broadcasting executive who used to be commissioned by CA to review the BBL ahead of its tenth season, had stated that organisers had to be “courageous” and recognise that bigger isn’t at all times better. He cited how the NFL had maintained a massive captive audience through the major events standing of an annual season that is only 18 rounds long – far fewer than the rival NBA or MLB seasons.
As for the rule changes, Voges stated that while he used to be fearful that new followers of the game might find them difficult to comprehend, he would be doing his utmost as coach of the Scorchers to use the new tactical nuances to his virtue. “I will go in with these rule changes with the glass half-full mentality and take a look at and find a way to tactically use them to our virtue in any way that we will,” he said. “But I do worry that a game and a format of our game that targets families, targets new people, that we possibly are complicating it a little bit.
“But look it hasn’t been trialled, it hasn’t been tested, we will all be thinking on our feet, and we will see how it goes.”