Test cricket and even the Big Bash could reap the benefits of dumping “meaningless” international T20 cricket “no one wants to watch”, according to former Australian Test captain Tim Paine.
Australia’s failed T20 World Cup defence was littered with suggestions the defending champions looked “flat” and even players said they were fatigued after a lead in of eight matches in just 24 days in seven cities and two countries, including a trip to India.
After just winning the final pool game against Afghanistan, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said it was “probably the longest lead in we’ve ever had” and there was “almost a sigh of relief” when the players finally got to the tournament.
Just over 18,000 people attended that crunch match in Adelaide, with questions asked about lagging interest in the national team.
Australia has played 44 T20 internationals across the past two years, including two World Cups, which is 25 per cent of its entire history of matches in the format since its first more than 15 years ago in 2005.
That doesn’t include matches played by Australian stars in franchise competitions like the Big Bash, Indian Premier League and The Hundred in England.
Paine, who has played in the Big Bash with the Hobart Hurricanes, said franchise cricket should be the only T20 matches played around the world and the best players could then be picked to represent their county at World Cups, which should also be spaced out.
There have been two T20 World Cups inside 12 months, and the next is scheduled for June 2024, which is just over 18 months away.
“I’ve got some views on T20 cricket, I’d like to see it just franchised all around the world and then you just play World Cups every four years,” Paine told SEN’s Sportsday.
“I think we play too much meaningless T20 cricket and we’ve seen this year even in the warm-up games and some other series, no one wants to watch it.
“You’re getting small crowds to big venues and it just looks bad and then you get to the Big Bash and everyone has seen enough T20, so that’s waning as well.”
Paine said freeing up the calendar from unnecessary matches could also allow for better players to feature in the Big Bash, which has lacked star power over recent summers with the best Australians not available.
“Get your star players playing in those franchises and their local leagues, then pick your best teams, have a World Cup and let Test cricket be the centrepiece around it,” he said.
“People want to watch the best players in the country playing in their domestic tournaments, and I think if we took a huge chunk of T20 international cricket out, it opens up time in the calendar for (the Big Bash).”