WBBL 2022, WBBL’s ‘bold and ambitious’ plan sees iconic stadium and aggressive scheduling

More home matches and playing in bigger stadiums are on the cards for the WBBL, as the rapidly expanding women’s game puts pressure on the tournament to maintain its position as the premier event.

The latest edition of the WBBL came to a close in front of a crowd of 6478 at North Sydney Oval on Saturday as the Adelaide Strikers beat the favorites Sydney Sixers to clinch their first title after a record 11 wins in the regular season. were

After two seasons of disruption due to Covid-19, which saw Melbourne’s teams not play at their home grounds for two years and Sydney’s two teams locked out last season, this edition saw the tournament return to all states. went.

However, it was up against a crowded sporting calendar in October and November that included the Men’s T20 World Cup, albeit a clash that would not be repeated for some time, and also the AFL Women’s League, one of which The grand finale took place a day later. WBBL

It is believed that the tournament went well with the various competitions and continues to have good television ratings, but Big Bash Leagues chief Alastair Dobson believes that now that Covid has been navigated, It’s time to be “bold and passionate”.

This could mean a reduction in festival weekends that see teams play neutral games, and the use of iconic stadiums such as the SCG and MCG for marquee matches such as local derbies and finals. Last year’s eliminators and challengers were held at Adelaide Oval and the final at Perth Stadium, but such venues have not been used since the competition became a stand-alone in 2019.

“The WBBL is certainly suited to the arenas we’ve played in, such as North Sydney Oval and City Power. [Junction Oval] in Melbourne, but the similar scale of the WBBL means we need to be bold and ambitious enough to play big games in big stadiums,” Dobson told ESPNcricinfo. “While it won’t happen on a regular basis. For us to be bold enough to start playing some of these games in bigger stadiums is because that’s where it deserves to be.

“It’s also about the schedule and we make sure we bring matches to each team’s home market on a regular basis. For example, we don’t have too many games in Melbourne this year for quite a while. It happened, equally in Sydney, and it appeared that once you start bringing matches into those markets, the interest goes away.”

We pay close attention to what the players are telling us, they are at the heart of the WBBL’s strength. Ultimately the WBBL aims to be a clear pathway for women and girls in cricket so we have to ensure that

Alastair Dobson

With more leagues and more international cricket on the calendar, there are also wider developments in the women’s game. This season’s WBBL saw some of India’s leading players including Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana pull out, and next year’s Women’s PSL and Women’s IPL are likely to join the schedule.

Already some players, including the recently retired Rachel Haynes, have begun to warn that the WBBL may not be complacent as top names begin to weigh up which competitions to put forward.

“Our main goal is to make sure the WBBL remains the best league in the world,” said Dobson. “It’s fantastic that players get this kind of opportunity around the world, but it means there’s a lot of cricket happening and we need to take care of that. First.

“At the same time, there are a lot of amazing local players that play down the strength of the WBBL so it’s a balance of all those factors. We really take into account what the players are telling us, the strength of the WBBL. are at the centre. Ultimately the WBBL aims to be a visible pathway for women and girls in cricket so we need to make sure they follow suit.”

The Women’s Hundred in the UK recently introduced a draft as part of their process to build a squad for the 2023 season. The BBL had its first overseas player draft earlier this year and while Dobson would not commit to whether there would be room in the WBBL, he said all aspects of the competition would is constantly placed under the microscope.

“It’s always a place to review and with a new agreement on the horizon there’s certainly an opportunity to explore different models and see other competitions around the world. [which] There’s always a helpful point of comparison,” he said. “What? [this season] What gives us real momentum going into the future and we just see incredibly untapped upside in the WBBL.

Andrew McGulshan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo.

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