From beginning to end, a trace of panic managed to linger over the way the BBL and its cricket clubs handled the dead and brief flirtation of AB de Villiers during the tournament. Considered the most game-changing addition when it comes to Australian cricket, the Big Bash League deserved better than to host a competition that didn’t have any winners.
AD de Villiers Losses Interest in BBL
Whether it was the broadcasters from Fox and Seven News/Sports Corp, the clubs, or even Cricket Australia, the eagerness to finally secure AB de Villiers after he decided to decline participation in the tournament in the previous season looked motivated by belief and worried about the strength the cricket tournament already had.
The management team of De Villiers and the cricket star himself, having received offers by more than half the cricket clubs, stated on Friday that he is no longer interested in participating in the tournament, offering no specific reason other than complaining about the repeated media leaks regarding his interest along with the terms by which it could be secured.
When you look at the length of the cricket tournament, the BBL salary cap constraints, there’s enormous proximity of Australian news on white-ball players that will be away for an ODI tour in India during January. It essentially deprived the cricket tournament of loads of talent which made AB de Villiers a must or bust situation, leaving plenty of unanswered questions in the air.
Money Was Always a Problem
For one, the money that needed to be gathered by the broadcasters, the Cricket Australia marketing funds, and successful cricket clubs. All involved with discussions to sign de Villiers made a huge mockery of the salary payments that are usually available to the players that participate in the tournament, while they raised the issue of whether AD de Villiers would be in the cricket tournament as a billboard or cricketer.
A $350,000 figure for a handful of cricket games made the headline of a 5-year contract worth $1 million inked by Chris Lynn look puny. There was loads of pressure from the global market and elsewhere that forced the broadcasters, clubs, and CA to look over and above the norm. However, there were loads of voices that questioned the integrity of the deal and how successful it would genuinely be to pay one player that much money in broad daylight.
Imagine if you will see a salary cap league like the AFL where broadcasters were initially approached to provide additional money for players to ensure they arrive at a specific club. This was mainly a display of how the BBL spent way too much money to get one elite player to increase the popularity of a cricket tournament that never needed to be expanded in the first place. All the uncertainty and scrambling by the BBL made them look less like a cricket addition and more like a struggling league.