Mark Taylor backs calls for a streamlined Big Bash

Former Australia captain Mark Taylor backed calls for an overhaul of the Big Bash system, saying the format would work better with a designated window for the tournament.

The men’s BBL had 61 games scheduled over an eight-week period, but many of them suffered from a lack of star power due to both international commitments and players testing positive for COVID-19.

Taylor said international cricket needed to be prioritized in a COVID-affected world, but the lack of key players on every Big Bash team had hurt the competition.

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“You don’t have all sides potentially at their absolute strength, 100% – if you have that, and you have a window for that, you have a much better game than when you try to fix it around games of cricket that are deemed more important,” he told WWOS radio.

“You just try to fit them in because you have to.”

There’s no denying that the competition’s popularity has waned slightly in recent years, with device fatigue being cited as the main reason.

Although it did not add any additional teams, the league went from 35 games in 2016-17 to 43 games in 2017-18 and then to 59 in 2018-19.

Greg Chappell wrote in his book that “further expansion of an entertainment product such as this runs the increasing risk of killing the golden goose by oversaturation”, an opinion which has been proven by declining crowds and TV ratings per game.

Adding to the crowds, a recent Daily Telegraph report claimed that league competition has dropped by almost half a million viewers per game since 2016, falling steadily in the six seasons since.

“It’s really difficult for the people who are in charge of the schedule, because I don’t know how you can integrate everything,” Taylor said.

As well as Big Bash, the former captain was asked about the future of the men’s Test team – and outlined two key areas for improvement.

“There’s talent there, the problem we’ve had is the problem with all sports,” he said, referring to the COVID pandemic.

“I really think we have a lot of bases covered. Obviously our concern is replacing Nathan Lyon.

“We need to find a really quality spinner, and we have [Mitchell] Swepson and [Ashton] Agar is leaving for the next Pakistan tour, so he’s the kind of guy who has to keep coming.

“And we need to find a few more hitters.”

Australia’s Test series against Pakistan begins in early March.

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