Big Bash 3 has set standard for T20 Blast, says Matt Floyd
Matt Floyd considers what lessons the Natwest T20 Blast can learn from a triumphant Big Bash.
By Matt Floyd
Last Updated: 19/02/14 4:40pm
While the flashing stumps, umpire cameras and relaxed commentary may not be new to UK viewers after Sky Sports broadcast the Bash for the first time last year, the competition has delivered another season of high quality cricket watched by bumper crowds.
Sure, Down Under they have a massive advantage in the weather but there are still things that we can learn if we want to make sure our T20 competition (now called the Natwest T20 Blast) doesn't fall behind.
I've said it before, but having consistently good pitches is a must. While scores of 120-8 v 110-9 might get a side two points, it's not going to keep pulling in the punters. It sounds harsh on the bowlers but generally T20 spectators want to see high scoring encounters and these can only be played out on pitches that allow batsmen to score relatively freely.
Scores of 160 and upwards may sound big, but nowadays I would argue that they should be considered the norm.
The average attendance for Big Bash 3 was around 20,000 people. While that obviously can't be replicated here due to the size of the stadiums, it will be very interesting to see how the decision to play most Natwest T20 Blast games on Friday nights works out. On the face of it, it seems a sound idea and hopefully will help keep crowds good throughout the year.
The other big question is, given the success of the new franchise system in Australia, whether a similar concept could work in the UK.
The problem is it's very difficult to compare. The main reason for that is because the Australian switch to a city-based franchise tournament did not have to involve culling or amalgamating any teams. In fact, the cricket public gained two teams as Sydney and Melbourne were given two each.
In the UK the whole point of a franchise system would be to reduce the number of teams and this clearly makes it a far tougher prospect.
While I think that potentially reducing the number of teams in our competition could only be a good thing for the standard of cricket, there are so many other hoops that have to be jumped through that I can't see it happening in the near future.
On the field this season, the Perth Scorchers finally fulfilled their undoubted talent.
Having lost the previous two finals at home they managed to make it third time lucky by dismantling the Hobart Hurricanes in front of an unashamedly partisan WACA crowd, and one couldn't help but feel they totally deserved it.
Their bowling squad of Yasir Arafat, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Alfonso Thomas, Jason Behrendorff, Brad Hogg and Michael Beer must be one of the best in the world, if not the best.
They and the Hurricanes, who exceeded expectations by going all the way to the final, will play in the Champions League T20 this year - don't be surprised if they shock one or two IPL teams.
The competition has also served to highlight the resurgence in Australian cricket.
During the doldrums of the last few years questions were asked over whether the standard of domestic cricket had slipped. On the evidence of the Big Bash, they should have no such worries about the shortest format.
It seems only right to leave you with a few names - Nic Maddinson, Joe Burns, Ben Dunk, Chris Lynn, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff and Cameron Gannon. It's these players, and others, that show Australia's future should be in good hands - and not just in Twenty20 cricket either.