BBL would need to bring in stars like Virat Kohli to reach the next level, believes Brett Lee

Legendary Australian pacer Brett Lee believes the Big Bash League (BBL) needs to bring in tier 1 superstars like Virat Kohli to move forward, and thereby stressed on the need for the private ownership of franchises. The franchises, as things stand, are currently owned by state associations.

Australia, despite their recent dwindling results, are one of the most dominant forces in the world of cricket, but one area where the country is lagging behind significantly is franchise cricket. The Big Bash League (BBL) is a massively popular T20 league, but lack of Tier 1 stars in the competition – both local and overseas – has diluted its quality, meaning it has been widely regarded a level or two below the likes of IPL, CPL and PSL. While generally, the Australian Test stars miss the competition due to a calendar-clash, absence of funds have hindered the organizers in bringing the best T20 cricketers in the world to the competition.

A reason for the lack of cash inflow has been Cricket Australia’s reluctance to allow private investors, and former Australian pacer Brett Lee believes this needs to change. The franchises are currently owned by state associations, but Lee is of the opinion that private investment would bring in more money, and therefore, in turn, enable the competition to bring in superstars like Virat Kohli. 

“You could have co-ownership and Cricket Australia could retain 51% and still control things, but with that extra funding I think you could get some really high profile stars to come out,’’ WION quoted Lee as saying.

“I am talking about the Virat Kohli’s. Imagine Kohli playing for the Sixers and the crowds you would get. I am really impressed with the Big Bash. They have done a great job. But to reach the next level that is what you would have to do.”

Rashid Khan, as things stand, is the biggest overseas player with a BBL contract, but Lee is keen to see more top-tier cricketers play in the competition. The former Aussie quick also hoped the BBL to introduce the draft system that has been proposed to overhaul the existing system.

“The draft is a good idea and I would love to see the best of the best come to Australia. We have earned that right. You need those big overseas players. The IPL has done well with only four overseas players so you are seeing the best of the best youngsters, but I think it really helps to mix with top overseas players,’’ Lee said. 

Recently, Shane Watson also batted for CA to allow private ownership of franchises in the BBL.

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