The BBL right now is under the threat of COVID. This time last year we all thought that this year would have been better. It was looking that way until the recent emergence of the Omicron variant has thrown absolute chaos into our lives.
Last night we saw the Melbourne Stars take on the Melbourne Renegades. The ‘Melbourne Derby’ is usually one of the largest spectacles in the BBL calendar and last night there was almost 22,000 people there to witness a Melbourne Stars team that had 12 players missing through COVID. That’s not including staff.. So Cricket Australia, instead of rescheduling and giving the Melbourne Stars a chance to field a strong outfit, made them play. It was a great opportunity for some club cricketers to get the opportunity but seriously, at what cost??
I for one and very surprised that Cricket Australia haven’t had measures in place for an event like this. Why haven’t they planned for the possibility of games to be rescheduled? Why haven’t they put together a
squad of 30 premier cricket players and kept this group of players together somehow for the possibility they would be required later in the summer? We here all the time that the Big Bash is the main event in the sporting calendar but it’s the same old feeling of reacting to the situation instead of planning for the worst and hoping for the best….
The situation at the moment is getting more and more chaotic and the ability to keep everyone safe and still keep a competitive league is very difficult, but CA can’t say they didn’t see this coming. Ok, there is nothing we can do about the past and what has happened, but what can we do about the situation now?
Just like everyone else, we have heard that CA is looking to schedule all games in Melbourne and have a hub to ensure the BBl continues. There was an article today from Hilton Cartwright outlining how mentally draining these last couple of weeks have been due to the complexity around the COVID outbreaks. I have
no doubt it would be very tough. Tough on friends, family and everyone involved. At the moment a hub is looking like the only viable option unfortunately.
Rescheduling to a later date is just not possible unfortunately due to schedules/tours already planned years in advance. I think they could look at possibly trying to schedule more games over a shorter period
of time. Play all games in a day perhaps. This is all to late but they will need to find a way to ensure the sirvival of the BBL otherwise this year, will have a very large asterisk against it…
Probably the last part of all of this is the players that are coming in and out of the competition. All franchises get to pick replacement players if needed. These players are there in case of emergency/international call up and so on. I think if CA is really serious about keeping the integrity of this competition, they will need to find a way to support a group of local players that can play in the competition. I am not sure how they do it but it will need to be something they look at for future comps.
Like every year, I take a huge interest in the BBL and how my mates and teams go. This year has been no different, but the more I am around other people the more I hear how the BBL is losing its appeal, its stigma. The more the BBL is becoming an after thought for the cricket mad. It is a huge shame because when it first came out, it was a huge success. Even though it probably didnt have enough games, it was incredibly entertaining. I know there were new rules introduced to help liven up the games but in my opinion all it did was create more opportunites for boundaries and sixes. If CA really wants to revamp it, it needs more than just some fresh rules for the batters, it needs a large overhaul and hopefully COVID will give them an opportunity to have a look at it and implement some smart ideas and strategies to save it…