During the numerous interviews Aaron Finch did upon is Big Bash retirement the T20 World Cup winner joked during one even he couldn’t quite remember how many different franchise teams he had played for around the world.
The number was in excess of 15, small compared to others, but including a stint with the new Major League cricket outfit the San Francisco Unicorns in the US, a T20 competition which could yet become a significant player given the calibre of players being lured to play, and coach.
Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting is a new convert, taking up an offer to coach the Washington Freedom in this year’s competition, having coached in the lucrative Indian premier League for several seasons.
But wile Ponting is keen to part of cricket’s global growth, he’s suggested that players should be limited to just how many competitions they play in order to maintain the status of international cricket as the most important.
A lopsided Test series between New Zealand and South Africa, with the Proteas sending a B-Grade team with their stars currently taking part in the SAT20 competition, which is backed heavily by Indian money, has put the spotlight on the club versus country debate.
While the West Indies recorded a famous Test victory over Australia, they did it with a side made up of inexperienced players, with several senior stars, including captain Jason Holder, prioritising T20.
With T20 leagues, including the Bangladesh Premier League and ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates all being played in the same window, one which overlapped with the Big Bash, Ponting has called for a cap be put in place by Cricket Australia, to ensure games featuring the national team, in any format, have the best players wearing green and gold.
“Nothing has ever really been put in place to block these competitions happening,” Ponting said in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“I know certain countries have got limits on how many competitions their players can play in, and I actually think that’s not a bad model, to be honest.
“That protects the country from international availability for their players and still allows individuals to go out and make money outside their international commitments.
“It is going to be the biggest challenge I think for the game going forward, how we manage the growth of these domestic competitions and slotting them all in with international duty and even overlapping one another.
“That’s the challenge we’ve got with the BBL now with [Dubai] and South Africa happening when they do, our little window is just being gobbled up more and more almost every year, to the point with the BBL finals this year where most of the overseas and better players are not playing in the BBL to fill contracts elsewhere.”
Ponting said the series in New Zealand was evidence of how important it was to have the best possible players involved at international level.
“We all had grave fears for it as soon as we saw that time of year that the SA T20 was happening and then that Test tour programmed, we all expected that was the way it is going to be,” Ponting said.
“No one likes seeing it, you even feel for the players, don’t you, the South African players that have been thrown to the wolves, and it goes to show that they’re just not good enough.”
Ponting will replace his longtime mentor and former coach, Greg Shipperd, at the coach of the Washington team having signed a two-year deal.
“I think it’s the tip of the iceberg where cricket is headed,” he said.