The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) was initially very sceptical about the T20 format of the game and was slow to accept and promote T20 cricket. After seeing the success of the T20 game at international level and the response to the Indian Premier League (IPL), the ACB approved its own domestic T20 competition called the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. This tournament was replaced in 2011 by the Big Bash League (BBL) and continues to be sponsored by KFC.
The BBL has turned out to be a great success in Australia over the past few seasons as these day and night games have drawn massive crowds and generated a lot of revenue for the ACB though television rights. The BBL continues to attract top talent from across the globe but Indian cricketers generally don’t take part in the BBL.
The BBL initially ran a competition for Australian designers to come up with a blueprint for the trophy in an effort to promote the BBL across Australia. Based on the immense success of the league, there are now plans to bring about a number of changes to reach a wider audience.
Some of those plans include adding new teams that come from lesser known parts of Australia such as Geelong, Canberra and New Castle. The BBL is also experimenting with the idea of hosting a BBL game on the 25th of December 2016.
Australia has so far refrained from playing sport on Christmas but the BBL wants to try out this concept and see if it gets a good response from the public. The BBL also wants franchises to play games at lesser known stadiums in Australia located in Geelong, the Gold Coast and Canberra.
The BBL now holds the record of being in #8 place on the list of the “most attended sports league in the world”. This record is based on the number of average attendees to games during the 2015-2016 season.
*Love cricket and would like to learn how to bet the sport? Follow this cricket betting guide to get you started.
Australian BBL Fixtures
With the amount of international cricket being played around the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to schedule the BBL and ensure that the top players in the world play the majority of games.
The BBL is played during the Australian summer and generally runs during the months of December and January every year.
The Australian summer is also when touring teams visit down under to play test matches against Australia, which is then followed by an ODI series. This makes it difficult for most of the top Australian test and ODI players to play regularly in BBL matches.
However the BBL does attract a number of top international players and features domestic fringe players making the BBL an extremely exciting tournament.
The BBL has a total of 8 franchises that compete against each other in a total of 32 group stage matches before the semi-finals and final games take place to establish the winner.
The group stage ensures that every team plays each other at least once during the tournament in a round robin style. The BBL also assigns a rival team to each team which tends to be consistent with every season. This allows the rival teams to play each other twice during the group stages.
These group stage matches feature a total of eight rounds and are split into four matches for each round played. Every team ends up playing a total of eight matches, four which are played at home and four away from home.
At the end of the group stage, the top four teams progress to the semi-finals, before the top two battle it out for the championship. So in all, a total of 32 group matches, 2 semi-finals and 1 grand finale is played during the BBL.
The grand finale is generally hosted by the team that has secured the highest amount of points.
The Twenty20 format is simple where each team has to send down a total of 20 overs and can feature a total of four international players in their playing eleven.
Television broadcasters have tended to experiment with new technology each season to make the BBL as interactive as possible with the fans, giving them an in-depth view of what goes on off the field and on the pitch.
*Check this cricket betting strategy that sets all online punters in the right path.
Big Bash Leage Teams
The BBL has always comprised of eight teams, six of which are state based teams and the additional two belong to the state capital of Melbourne and Sydney. The following is the list of BBL teams to feature in the league along with the players and management that comprise the team.
The Strikers are captained by veteran Brad Hodge and coached by ex-fast bowler Jason Gillespie.
The team uses the Adelaide Oval as their home turf and have hired a number of key international players including ex- Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jaywardene, hard hitting West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and upcoming English spinner Adil Rashid.
The team is captained by Chris Lynn who is considered to be one of the best domestic players in the BBL and coached by ex-New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
The Heat use the Brisbane Cricket Ground as their home turf and feature a couple of well known West Indian T20 players in Lendl Simmons and leg spinner Samuel Badree.
They have also contracted the services of New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum who will retire from international cricket this year. Brisbane Heat won the 2012 BBL Championship after they beat the Perth Scorchers.
The Hurricanes are one of the weaker teams in the BBL and are captained by wicket-keeper batsman Tim Paine who used to play for Australia before injury took him out.
The Hurricanes are coached by Damien Wright and feature international players such as West Indian T20 captain Darren Sammy and ex-Sri Lankan test captain Kumar Sangakkara.
The Hurricanes use the Bellerive Oval for home games and are sponsored by MyState Financial.
The Renegades are captained by former Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch who made a name for himself after his performances in the BBL. The side is coached by David Saker and features a number of well known international players such as Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo.
The Renegades use the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne for home games, are yet to win a BBL championship but continue to see their fan base grow with every passing season of the BBL.
Interesting Fact – Chris Gayle, one of the top players not only from the Renegades but the BBL, caused a huge controversy after flirting with Aussie reporter Mel McLauglin on live television and saying ‘Don’t Blush Baby’ which resulted in Gayle being fined and receiving a lot of flak from ex-cricketers.
The Melbourne Stars are captained by David Hussey who played a number of ODIs and T20 matches for Australia and are coached by ex-New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming.
The Stars play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and rely heavily on the services of England’s Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright.
The Stars could be one of the unluckiest franchises in BBL history as they have consistently made the finals every single year from 2011 but have never managed to get their hands around the championship.
Interesting Fact – Aussie great Shane Warne, named one of the best bowlers in the history of the sport, and West Indian Marlon Samuels get into a heated exchange that results in Samuel throwing his bat at Warne. This resulted in a fine and sanction to both players, soon after the season end Wayne retired for good from professional cricket.
The Scorchers are one of the favourite teams in the BBL, having made four of the last BBL final matches, winning two championships in the process.
The Scorchers were captained by ex-Test player Simon Katich who retired and handed the captaincy to current test batsman Adam Voges.
The team is coached by ex-Aussie test opener Justin Langer and feature international players such as Michael Carberry and David Wiley.
The Scorchers use the WACA to stage home games.
The Sixers won the first edition of the BBL and have put in a consistent performance in just about every season.
Although they have Australian captain Steven Smith in their side, the Sixers are generally captained by all-rounder Moises Henriques as Smith if often absent due to his international commitments.
The Sixers are coached by Darren Berry and use the famous Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to host home games. Some of the international players contracted by the Sixers include Michael Lumb and Johan Botha.
The Thunder was captained in the 2015-2016 season by ex-Aussie batsman Michael Hussey who led the Thunder to the finals and went on to win the championship.
The Thunder will have to elect a new captain for the next season of the BBL and Hussey has confirmed that the BBL final was his last game and he is now officially retired from all formats.
The Thunder used the ANZ Stadium in the past for home games but has now confirmed that they will move to the Sydney Showground Stadium for future matches.
The side is coached by Paddy Upton and features international players such as ex-South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis and West Indian all-rounder Andre Russel.
*Prefer to read this in Hindi? Visit our Hindi betting section.
BBL League Facts
- Perth Scorchers, first BBL team to sell out all home matches in a season
- Chris Gayle hitting a half century in just 12 balls
- Veterans Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge using the BBL to secure a spot in the Australian T20 team
 bigbash.com.au, Big Bash League Oficcial Site, 2016
 forbes.com, Why Australia’s Big Bash League Is Changing The Professional Sports Paradigm, 2016