The Big Bash
When the twenty over form of cricket first made its appearance in Australia I was not over enthusiastic. I’m a relatively recent fan of cricket, only the last twelve years or so but I really prefer the longer forms of the game. T20 seemed a bit of a novelty. However it has grown to have huge importance over the past few years so I’ve moved somewhat from my position of “cricket for people with short attention spans” and embraced the entertainment side of it.
The Big Bash League (BBL) is a competition played mainly during the summer school holidays. The teams are city based and each is allowed a couple of international players in addition to local and interstate talent. This means that people get the chance to see some top overseas players on a regular basis through the series. As we don’t get a lot of international matches in Hobart it works out well for me and I try to go to as many of our team’s home games as I can. Some of the internationals who have played in the BBL in the past couple of years are Muttiah Muralitharan, Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga, Luke Wright, Kemar Roach and Alex Hales.
The teams are:
- Hobart Hurricanes
- Adelaide Strikers
- Perth Scorchers
- Brisbane Heat
- Melbourne Renegades
- Melbourne Stars
- Sydney Sixers
- Sydney Thunder
For anyone who had never attended a BBL game or who thinks that cricket is a quiet game you are in for a big surprise. BBL cricket is LOUD. Channel Nine’s Michael Slater has often referred to T20 as “Rock’n’Roll Cricket” and the BBL certainly promotes that image. There is loud music blaring throughout the game, fireworks and fanfares when boundaries are hit, dancers and mascots for each team.
There are lots of (expensive) team merchandise for sale and fans are encouraged to wear their team colours to the match. Under the Southern Stand at Blundstone Arena there is a face painting booth for the kids and a place for them to make their own signs. At a rain affected game recently I saw “No Rain More ‘Canes” and on TV yesterday I saw “Sydney Thunder is worse than England” which seemed rather harsh.
Players are very accessible to the fans and happily sign autographs before, during and after the game. In his final season last summer Ricky Ponting was very much in demand and one of my favourite moments was the Perth Scorchers Brad Hogg, surrounded by purple clad Hurricanes fans signing autographs and asking them “So who are you going for today?”
I won’t pretend to be able to explain all the rules of T20, you can read them here. However, the main points for those who are not familiar with cricket are that there are two teams of 11 players, each team plays twenty 6 ball “overs” each. To keep the game moving there is a penalty if a team does not bowl its overs within 80 minutes. If a man is out his replacement must be on the field within 90 seconds. If the match is tied it is decided by a “Super Over”. So far this has only happened once in the Big Bash, at a match between the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers.
I do love the enthusiasm of the crowd as they support the home team cheering every boundary shot hit and every wicket taken and I enjoy the opportunity to photograph the players. I’m too shy to speak to them but I prefer more candid photographs anyway. My camera is only a compact, a Nikon Coolpix L120 but within its and my limitations I’ve got a few photos I like.
More of my cricket photos can be seen here.