Australian T20 Big Bash League – worth watching? Mike McKenna says ‘yes’

Australian domestic sport is getting the kick up the arse it needed. A-League has brought soccer back to the masses, NBL is alive and kicking again with new sponsors...

Australian domestic sport is getting the kick up the arse it needed. A-League has brought soccer back to the masses, NBL is alive and kicking again with new sponsors and teams and cricket is getting the same medicine with the T20 Big Bash League.

EFTM caught up with Mike McKenna from Cricket Australia to discuss the up coming season and see whether or not it was worth rocking up to a match. Domestic cricket back in the big time? Read on to find out…

Why should we be tuning into the KFC T20 Big Bash League matches?

With eight city based teams everyone should be tuning in to FOX SPORTS and getting out to matches around the country.The league has attracted 17 of the biggest names in international T20 to play alongside Australia’s young guns and established stars. During December and January, there will be high-quality matches played at night around the country – the perfect way to enjoy to holiday season. Live music, competitions, and fireworks will keep everyone on the edge of their seats for the full three hours.

Who are the big Aussie cricket stars that will be taking part in the series this season?

All of Australia’s best T20 players have been signed to teams with a couple of returning legends adding extra spice. Shane Warne and Matt Hayden’s return from retirement will draw crowds and attention around the country. The excitement machines that shouldn’t be missed include David Warner, Cameron White and Brad Hodge. Also, keep an eye out for the players who emerge like Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins did last year. T20 provided a chance for these young guys to shine and we’re excited to see who’ll follow in their footsteps.

Does the T20 Big Bash League follow the standard Twenty20 rules or are there some unique variations?

Standard T20 rules guarantee non-stop action so there wasn’t a need to tinker with the rules and it is simple to follow. T20 is already one of the fastest growing sports in the world and other sports would like what we’ve got. In recent times AFL, Hockey and Netball have all trialled short formats trying to replicate T20’s success. Something we’re proud of is it that the League will offer unparalleled access to players throughout the season.

As far as the format of the competition is concerned, each of new KFC T20 Big Bash League teams will play each other once. At the end of the regular season the top four teams will play off in the finals series.

What do you think the best matches of the season will be?

With the quality of local and international stars the League has attracted there are blockbuster clashes every week. Some highlights will include:

Opening Match: Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat, SCG, Fri 16 Dec
The Return of Warne to face Warner and Gayle: Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder, MCG, Sat 17 Dec
Tait returns to the old stomping ground: Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Renegades, Adelaide Oval, Sun 18 Dec
Opening of The Furnace: Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes, WACA, Sun 18 Dec
Warne and Hayden in Battle of the Legends: Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars, Gabba, Tue 20 Dec
New Year’s Day Special: Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Thunder, Blundstone Arena, Bellerive, 1 Jan

We’ve seen the A-League reinvigorate soccer, the relaunch of the NBL bring basketball back to life. What do you hope this season of the T20 Big Bash League will do for cricket?

We hope to see it provide an extra option for cricket enthusiasts to get out and see the leading stars from Australia and around the world, but also introduce new fans to the game. With city-based teams it gives a chance for fans to really get on board, support their local team, get out to the grounds and show their true colours.

There will be high-quality cricket played in capital cities around Australia throughout the December and January holiday period. Fans won’t have to wait until international cricket comes to town watch some of the game’s best up close.

Cricket is a huge sport on an international level. Do you think this quick version of the game will significantly boost crowds on a domestic level?

Sport is not just about the game itself these days but about the full package that has to entertain crowds from start to finish. T20 cricket is built to entertain and offers a unique experience for those who love their cricket but also for families and those who may not get attend too much sport. As this form of the game caters to such a wide variety of spectators we do expect some brilliant crowds around the country.

When does the season start and how can we catch the action?

The season kicks off with Brad Haddin’s Sydney Sixers taking on Matt Hayden’s Brisbane Heat at the SCG on December 16. Tickets are on sale now. From just $42.50, a family can grab a slice of the action, while single match tickets are $20 for an adult, $5 for a child and $12 for a student. FOX SPORTS is also broadcasting every match live, so fans can catch every ball either at home or at the ground.

Web: www.bigbash.com.au.

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Sports & Fitness

Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men's Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney's North Shore with his girlfriend.
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