The eighth edition of Australia’s lucrative T20 league known as the Big Bash League (BBL) is all set to start from 19th of December, with Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers facing each other in the opening game. This edition will oversee the expansion of the tournament, with every team set to play 14 games in the league rounds, before qualifying to the semis and the final.
A billion-dollar deal in April confirmed that Seven network will have the broadcasting rights of the league for the next five years. Their head, David Barham, however, thinks that the arrival of more overseas talent will make this league even more attractive.
Australian veteran, Mitchell Johnson, plied his trade for the Perth Scorchers, but has now announced his retirement from the league due to the increase in length of the league. The BBL is now all set to run over a time period of more than 60 days.
Moreover, it will be integral for the two teams from Melbourne and Sydney to perform better to reignite the support for the BBL from Australia’s two biggest cities.
Chief of Seven network, David Burham, spoke to ESPN Cricinfo and claimed that the introduction of international superstars like AB de Villiers, Joe Root and many others will improve the competition. He believes that the overseas players will make the league even more interesting towards the end of the tournament.
“International players will be playing for a number of games in certain places. So you might have Joe Root for four games and swap him for Dwayne Bravo or someone for the back end. Or you might be able to get de Villiers for four games at the back end of the summer. If you start rolling a couple of these blokes in late in the tournament [it will help],” Burham spoke.
Burham also went on to claim that the performances of the teams from Sydney and Melbourne will have a big impact on the BBL, and that the teams need to start winning matches. Teams from Sydney and Melbourne were eliminated very early in the season, after losing about five consecutive matches in the beginning of the competition.
“Last year it was all down to the Melbourne Stars, they couldn’t get out of their own way [losing their first five games]. And if you have one team with a lot of the big names in it not firing a shot, that hurt. The Stars are important, and Sydney [Sixers] were shocking as well, they lost their first six, so neither of them could win a game. That really had a big impact,” he added.