Sport Cricket Cheap and nasty: why BBL is junk food for sports fans

Cheap and nasty: why BBL is junk food for sports fans

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Australia welcomed a new club into the pantheon of sporting dynasties on Wednesday night.

Hawthorn Football Club in the 1980s, 1950s-60s St George Illawarra and the New South Wales team that won nine straight Sheffield Shield titles from 1954 have a new goliath bearing down on them.

The mighty Perth Scorchers are the Big Bash League’s first dynasty, and what a long and proud tradition they’ve had.

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Scorchers win BBL title in a thriller

Perth have been involved in every Grand Final the Big Bash League has ever had, losing the first couple and winning the past two in performances that will linger long in the mind.

Wednesday night’s last-ball finish was incredible – Sydney Sixers skipper Moises Henriques fumbling a ball thrown at the stumps with Yasir Arafat well short of his crease.

The blunder denied Brett Lee what would have been a fairytale (we use the term loosely) finish to his cricket career.

Henriques’ mistake, surely, will take its place alongside Herschelle Gibbs’ dropping the World Cup.

Or, perhaps, you’ve already forgotten.

The Big Bash League, like so many modern products, isn’t built to provide lasting satisfaction.

Yet it has rarely failed to entertain this season. That in itself is troubling.

It’s a narcotic, junk-food, a sugar high – sweet in the moment and fading tragically fast from memory once it’s over.

It’s Candy Crush for cricket fans, custom designed for the 21st-century’s shrinking attention spans and leisure time.

It’s a made-for-TV extravaganza, and like so much episodic television, it’s designed to neutralise brain function – perfect for unwinding in front of after a hard day.

But, as with Everybody Loves Raymond or Three and a Half Men, you have a hard time recalling specifics.

Last night’s change-of-innings entertainment, however, is something I’ll never forget.

One by one, some of the biggest hitters in the League stepped up to face two balls spat out by a bowling machine, and attempted to hit a six. It had to clear the boundary rope to count, and the victory was judged by the amount of distance their hit covered.

It smacked of something cheap, nasty and thrown together at the last minute. Then we crossed to ‘Africa’ for a tawdry bit of cross-promotion for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

It was time to change the channel.

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