Australian cricket great Brad Haddin has thrust into the spotlight the Big Bash League’s dearth of cricket superstars and believes the schedule needs to be overhauled to fix it.
Haddin was among the thousands of people left stunned by the three new rules introduced by Cricket Australia this week, with the former wicketkeeper-batsman labelling the Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost “unnecessary”.
Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are just some of the leading Australian players whose BBL campaigns are impeded by international cricket – and rather than adding new rules, Haddin says it’s crucial Cricket Australia makes better use of January.
“Maybe (we could play) something at the end of the Sydney Test match. If you had a three-week block where there was a window cleared for all Australian players to play (that’d work),” Haddin said on SEN’s The Jimmy Smith Show.
“Imagine David Warner coming up against a Mitchell Starc or a Pat Cummins, or a Steve Smith up against a Matthew Wade at Hobart. That’s what everyone wants to see.
“It’s a great concept, this T20, but the one thing we need to see – and this is what makes the Indian Premier League so successful – is the best players playing.
“I think (the new rules are) unnecessary. The concern for me is it’s a bit of a misguided attempt to cover up the real issues we need to talk about with the Big Bash.”
Kumar Sangakkara, Herschelle Gibbs, Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Muttiah Muralitharan and Dale Steyn are among the champion players BBL crowds flocked to see in past years.
Ben Stokes, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Trent Boult are among the modern-day stars who competed in this year’s IPL but won’t be in Australia for the 2020/21 BBL season.
Haddin was a teammate of overseas imports Dwayne Bravo, Johan Botha, Michael Lumb, Jason Roy and Sam Billings in his 2011/12 and 2016/17 stints with the Sydney Sixers – and he said he would again love to see Australia’s biggest cricket guns squaring off with the best from afar.
“We need to start getting the best international players available,” Haddin said.
“You want to see a Mitchell Starc against an AB de Villiers. What a contest that’d be!
“I just think the rule changes are unnecessary. We just need to find a way to start attracting the best players of international standard and also the best Australian players.
“Simple’s best. It’s a great concept, T20 cricket, and it’s a really big tactical game anyway, so I just think the rule changes are unnecessary.”
The Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes are scheduled to open the 2020/21 BBL season at Bellerive Oval on December 10.