Cricket Australia confirms major BBL overhaul

Cricket Australia has announced the BBL will be reduced from 61 matches to 43 in future seasons.

The competition moved to a full home-and-away schedule in 2018-19, which saw each team play 14 matches, with the competition running for nearly two months.

That move coincided with a decline in crowds, TV ratings and the quality of on-field action, with overseas stars reluctant to commit to the full tournament.

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Cricket Australia is facing increasing competition from overseas leagues, such as the ILT20 tournament in the UAE, which offers players more money for less work.

In August, Cricket Australia agreed to a radical deal which will see the BBL’s all-time leading runscorer, Chris Lynn, play 11 of Adelaide’s 14 matches before departing to take up a rich contract in the UAE league.

The 43-match format was last used in 2017-18, with each team playing 10 matches in the home-and-away season.

That will be followed by three finals, with Cricket Australia yet to confirm the format.

The BBL previously played two semi finals, with the winners advancing to the final.

Another option could be that used by the WBBL, where 3rd and 4th play off for the right to meet 2nd, with the winner of that match playing the team that finished 1st in the final.

A shortened season with four teams advancing to the knockout stages would place increased importance on each match of the regular season.

One of the criticisms of the 61-match season, which in recent years has seen five of the eight teams advance to the finals, has been the large number of matches with seemingly little relevance.

In a statement, Cricket Australia said the shorter BBL would allow “increased player availability, greater proportion of prime-time matches and stronger alignment with school holidays.”

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