‘It’s just too long’: Watson slams BBL’s length

Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson

Melbourne [Australia], May 14 (ANI): Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has criticised the length of the Big Bash League (BBL), saying that the length is just too long and quality of cricket has been put on the back burner.
Intially BBL used to have 32 group games, but during the last season, the games increased to 56 and if you combine them with the playoffs, the total matches rose upto 61.
"The tournament is just too long. It's disappointing for all of the families that follow the season so closely until school goes back, and the last thing parents want is for their kids to stay up until nearly midnight watching the matches on a school night," ESPNCricinfo quoted Watson as saying.
The former Australian star also slammed the standard of the tournament, suggesting that a combination of poor pitches and a lack of international players has diluted the quality of cricket.
"A lot of the warning signs... have very sadly started to come to fruition. I know all too well that the quality of the cricket that is being played in the BBL is now behind some of the tournaments around the world," Watson said.
"The one thing that the IPL and PSL do is make the quality of the cricket, the product, the number one priority. This is where the BBL has really lost its way. The quality of the cricket has been put on the back burner in the Big Bash and the entertainment gimmicks have been brought to the forefront," he added.
Watson also added that as the tournament features eight teams so the talent pool gets pretty stretched and with the length of group stage matches increasing, it has become a challenge to ensure everyone stays fit.
"As the BBL is comprised of 8 teams, the talent pool is already stretched pretty thin and now with the extension of the tournament, it is a challenge to keep your best players fit. Right now, if a team gets a few injuries, the franchise has to continue to find club cricketers to fill in," Watson said.
"This happened way too many times during the season just gone. If the BBL wants to be one of the best T20 leagues in the world they need to have the best players in the world participating in the league," he added.
The 38-year-old Watson had announced his retirement from Australia's domestic T20 competition, Big Bash League (BBL) last year, but he continues to be an active player in other T20 leagues around the world.
Watson played for Sydney Thunder in the BBL and was a part of the team for four years and he also led the side for three years. He had called time on his BBL career after finishing as the Sydney Thunder's all-time leading run-scorer with 1014 runs, including a century scored at Brisbane against Brisbane Heat. (ANI)