Big Bash League boss open to split-innings concept
Cricket Australia assessing the findings of an independent report into the KFC Big Bash League ahead of its 10th season
29 April 2020, 03:50 PM AEST
KFC Big Bash League boss Alistair Dobson has declared nothing is off the table, including the prospect of splitting games into four innings, as the Twenty20 competition mulls changes for a pivotal season.
The 10th edition of the BBL already loomed as a key milestone for Cricket Australia, but it could take on even greater importance this summer given COVID-19 has cast down on international fixtures.
The league went from strength to strength until CA expanded the length of its season in 2018 as part of a $1.2 billion broadcast deal, squeezing in an additional 16 games.
David Barham, the television-sports guru who took the BBL to great heights while at Channel 10, has submitted an independent report to CA that proposes various remedies to a recent decline in broadcast audiences and crowds.
Some are obvious, such as increasing the availability of Australia's best players plus ending with an Australia Day final so the competition wraps up in school holidays.
The most left-field idea in the review, commissioned by CA amid concerns about ratings and crowds, is introducing four-innings contests in an attempt to manufacture closer games that could keep fans tuned in throughout broadcasts.
"It's an interesting idea," Dobson told SEN.
"Being innovative and creative is in the BBL's DNA and right now, more than ever, it's going to be important that we're open to all range of suggestions.
"We'd look to test that in some way and have a look at it, but we're not going to rule anything in or out.
"It comes back to the question around close run chases and exciting finishes and if there are ways you can adjust the game to create that uncertainty of outcome ... two run chases within a game or different allocation of points within a game, they're all interesting ways."
There is somewhat of a precedent.
In 2010, CA tweaked its domestic one-day competition to have split innings despite 78 per cent of players rejecting the idea in an Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) survey.
That innovation was scrapped after a single season.
Dobson said "conversation around innovation and creativity is being largely led by them (broadcasters)" and also noted that finding a window for Australian superstars to play as much BBL as possible remains a scheduling priority.