Peter Siddle calls for shorter BBL window


“The word from anyone overseas that I chat to is they don’t want to come here for that long and be stuck”

Peter Siddle has urged BBL administrators to trim the length of the season but believes they were right to block Steven Smith‘s request to play.

Siddle’s Adelaide Strikers will face Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Wednesday night, when the winner advances to Friday night’s final against Perth Scorchers at Marvel Stadium. This season will end within school holidays. But concerns about its length, routinely raised since a broadcast deal in 2018 resulted in the competition expanding to a full home-and-away season, remain.

Strikers spinner Rashid Khan and Sixers opener James Vince are among the international recruits to have already departed Australia.

Siddle believes this summer, in which fixtures have been repeatedly rejigged because of Covid-19 cases, shows it is possible to squeeze the tournament into a tighter window.

“It’s not a hidden fact that it is a bit long,” Siddle said after being named captain of the BBL’s team of the tournament. “Making it shorter is the key focus. The word from anyone overseas that I chat to is their biggest worry is they don’t want to come here for that long and be stuck.

“If you’re a shorter tournament, you’re probably not losing guys like Rashid Khan, James Vince, Sandeep [Lamichhane]. This year we’ve had to rearrange games…now we realise that maybe to make this season shorter, we might have to play back-to-back games and do different things.”

The decision from CA to deny the Sixers’ attempt to sign Smith for the finals has been widely criticised. Siddle disagreed, arguing it was a simple case of “rules are rules”.

“They need to be followed sometimes and obviously they just fell a little bit late for the Sixers,” he said. “It’s probably no different to us having Heady [Travis Head] and Kez [Alex Carey] on contract for the whole season. That’s the risk you take.”

Sixers opted against signing Smith because they believed he would be part of Australia’s ODI series against New Zealand, which was ultimately postponed.

Meanwhile, Siddle also defended Fawad Ahmed after he claimed a contentious catch in Sunday night’s win over Sydney Thunder.

Thunder captain Usman Khawaja said he accepted the umpire’s decision but “it looked like a blade of grass 100 percent touched the ball”.

“I was at cover, so I had a good view,” Siddle said. “It looked clean live. Back in the day it would have been – you just take the fielder’s word for it and it’s out.

“I enjoyed the good old days where you take a word for it, get over it and move on. Line ball, that’s the game.”

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