It’s magnetic, shouty and all over before you can say ”Bill O’Reilly would have thought ill of this, I’ll warrant”. But T20 cricket has it all, at once a guilty pleasure for traditional lovers of the game, a disorientingly enjoyable spectacle for those who thought they would hate it, and pretty much irresistible to the players for whom it represents a chance to make big money quickly. With the second year of the KFC Big Bash League under way, we ask cricket great Mark Waugh how Fox’s coverage can enhance the explosiveness at the grounds.
What’s different about the second Big Bash?
There are no weak teams. It’s a competition anyone can win. And there’s a really good spread of international players, such as Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Murali, [Lasith] Malinga, Dale Steyn and Kieron Pollard. People will have found a team to follow. Last year was a breakthrough year. But now people know who is in what team.
Changing the concept from state to city teams was a good move, but an even better one was to make sure the team names reveal where teams are from, unlike rugby union where you find yourself trying to recall who the Hurricanes or Cheetahs are.
Yes, city name first, then the second name [Heat, Renegades etc]. It helps the crowd identify with the team, and that should lead to bigger and bigger crowds.
Aside from the overseas players, there’s also a good mix of up-and- coming and veteran Australians. Shane Warne, for example, will be playing against Alister McDermott, the son of your teammate from the 1990s Craig McDermott.
That’s true. But Shane Warne is a legend and can still hold his own – he’s not there to make up the numbers but to win. But it’s also a competition in which players can get their names [known among] selectors and fans. Patrick Cummins did that. And David Warner.
Last year Shane Warne was miked up and successfully predicted getting Brendon McCullum out next ball, and precisely how he would do it. Will there be more of that?
With Warne, it was almost like it was scripted, but I can assure you it wasn’t. But players will be miked again every day. It’s a fairly unique situation in professional sport. It is all about entertainment, but there is a lot of competition there. Microphones also let viewers feel like they’re the captain and gives them a feel for what’s happening in the middle.
Do you miss cricket?
I certainly don’t miss Test cricket, but I’d have loved to play T20.
You’d have been pretty handy.
After an especially good performance, many sportsmen talk about how ”it hasn’t sunk in yet” and say they’ll think about it once their careers are over. Have your match-winning centuries in Port Elizabeth in 1997 and Jamaica in 1995 sunk in yet?
Yes. They’ve sunk in [laughs]. It’s good to have those memories but not something to think about every day. There are certain players – like Glenn McGrath – who know every game they played and every wicket they took, but life goes on.
Is there one performance of which you’re especially proud?
It’s hard to pick one. But probably 1995, in Kingston, Jamaica, against the West Indies. I made a hundred and [twin brother] Stephen made 200 and we won that match and the series, and it was a probably a turning point, a changing of the guard in international cricket.
Cricket: Big Bash League
Fox Sports, all week, various times.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.