BBL06: The Good, The Bad, The Bizarre

The Good: Perth win three from five

Perth collected a third title from five attempts against the Sixers in the Big Final, an incredible strike rate for a competition just six years old (cue the Brian Fantana “60% of the time…” jokes).

BBL06 was one of the best, with over a million fans attending game, plenty of sellouts and big ratings for Channel Ten. With Australia belting an unpredictable Pakistan 7-1 across Test and ODIs, the BBL injected some spark into the summer and overshadowed the Australian Open.

It was one the closest competitions, with two games separating first (Perth Scorchers 5-3) and last (Sydney Thunder 3-5). The Big Final was an anticlimax, with Perth cruising to a nine-wicket win, chasing the Sixers’ 142 inside 16 overs. It was so easy that parochial Perth fans had some fun with cult hero Nathan Lyon, chanting “Garry, Garry, Garry!” when GOAT bowled.

Michael Klinger and Mitchell Johnson were the statistical standouts for Perth. Klinger scored 334 runs from 10 matches (averaging 37.11), including 71 not out from 49 balls in the Big Final, while Johnson took 13 wickets from nine matches (averaging 15.46). His 3/3 in the semi-final destroyed the Melbourne Stars. There were even rumours of a Twenty20 international comeback, quickly denied by Johnson.

The Bad: Nevill’s woes

Poor Peter Nevill.

Starting the summer as the first-choice Test wicketkeeper, Nevill was dropped after the Hobart capitulation for Matthew Wade. Despite 179 not out against Tasmania, he was unable to force his way back in, seemingly on the scrapheap (some might say Wade’s only decent contribution has been the “Nice Garry” phenomenon).

Nevill’s summer got far worse when his Melbourne Renegades played Adelaide Strikers on January 16. A Brad Hodge pull shot went awry when the bat flew from his hands and the handle striking Nevill (who was busy watching the ball) in the face. Luckily it missed his eye, hitting his cheek, but he was still left with a nasty bruise. That was the end of Nevill’s BBL campaign, leaving his immediate future in doubt as the second half of the Sheffield Shield begins.

The Bizarre: Howie’s unintentional “coaching”

Wiring up players to talk to commentators has been a part of Twenty20 for a long time. It’s a good way for fans to hear from the players (and probably a better option than a reporter sticking a microphone in a player’s face after they get out).

The January 18 game between the Strikers and Thunder showed the unintentionally bad side of the technology.

Commentator Mark Howard was talking to Hodge and mentioned that Ben Laughlin had the wood over Thunder batsman Shane Watson (insert your own Shane Watson joke here…). Funnily enough, Hodge put Laughlin on next over. While he didn’t get Watson out (Jake Lehmann got him), the conversation caught the attention of Cricket Australia.

According to the Fox Sports website, “Cricket Australia’s integrity unit is looking into the matter further to ensure the comments made during the broadcast did not jeopardise the integrity of last night’s match,” a CA spokesperson said on Thursday.

http://www.foxsports.com.au/cricket/domestic-cricket/big-bash/cricket-australia-investigating-onair-exchange-between-mark-howard-and-brad-hodge/news-story/9d43f6987659e01254d74eac5b1a8477

While betting and match fixing has been a huge issue in the game, Mark Howard’s intentions were not malicious. Though it will make commentators think twice about what they say to players.

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