Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson on Thursday explained the difference between the quality of cricket in Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Big Bash League. Watson said that while the two Asian T20 franchise leagues prioritises the sport, BBL focusses more on gimmicks.
Watson, in his blog T20 Stars, explained why there has been a decrease in the number of spectators over the years in BBL saying that the league, 'quality of cricket has been put on the back burner'.Meanwhile, the Chennai Super Kings all-rounder was all of praise for IPL calling it the 'ultimate' franchise league while also admitting that PSL has 'seriously good' quality of cricket.
"For me the writing was on the wall as soon as the new media rights deal was done and the tournament got extended out to 7 home and away games with the finals on top," Shane Watson wrote.
"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. The Indian Premier League is the ultimate as it has all of India's best players playing throughout the whole tournament as well as each team having 4 of the best players in the world complementing the local talent.
"The Pakistan Super League is another tournament where the quality of the cricket that is played is seriously good. Each team has two fast bowlers of the class of Haris Rauf, each team has a quality spinner and a number of world class batsmen to round out the team.
"The one thing that the IPL and PSL do is make the quality of the cricket, the product, the number one priority. They know that if this is of the highest quality possible, then the longevity of the tournament and the commercial growth and success will look after itself.
"Don't get me wrong they have all of the bells and whistles as well, however the glitz and glamour goes on before and after the matches but very rarely does the entertainment affect the players ability to perform at their best.
"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."
Talking about BBL, Watson said that micing players and the captains during the matches should be stopped. He also pointed out that the season is played during Australia's international fixtures hence disallowing local boys to be away for national duties. He also wants overseas players to be increased from 2 to 4.
"One of the gimmicks that I really feel takes away from the quality of the cricket product is the mic'ing up of players - up to 2 players from each team fielding are being mic'd up with a significant amount of the captains being one of the two players. How in the world is a captain supposed to have his mind on the game when he is being interviewed regularly...," Watson wrote.
"A number of the young guys are more focused on being entertaining on the microphone instead of prioritising their mental energy.
"It is easy to spot where the biggest problem lies with the talent pool already stretched so thin, we extend our tournament by at least 4 games, we only have two overseas players allowed to play in every game and our local international stars aren't available!!! This means that the quality of the cricket that is played, which is the only way that will sustain the cricket-loving public to continue to watch the games, is starting to really decline."