OPINION

The BBL? The Big Bore League is just not cricket

CHANGE: The BBL, which starts next week, will implement three new radical rule changes. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images
CHANGE: The BBL, which starts next week, will implement three new radical rule changes. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The Big Bash League is designed with television viewers purely in mind

The Big Bash League should be renamed the Big Bore League and the same applies to the women's version, WBBL.

The BBL, which starts next week, will implement three new radical rule changes - Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost - aimed at making the competition more exciting.

But let's face it, T20 is made-for-TV content with all the bells and whistles - it's just not cricket.

There is precious little or no skill or science in the batting or bowling. While some shots such as the reverse sweep are hard to execute and fun to watch, slogging is accepted as the norm. Full tosses and long hops from bowlers are celebrated if they result in wickets or no runs.

The occasional brilliant catch or sublime piece of fielding does not elevate the competition's overall quality above mediocre.

T20 statistics are meaningless and don't need to be recorded, unlike those for Tests and one-day internationals.

While I took in some action from the opening two ODIs against India over the weekend, the BBL and WBBL leave me cold.

But clearly, I'm not the target audience - Cricket Australia is going for families with young children addicted to technology and unable to concentrate for more than a few minutes.

Rather than resort to "gimmicks", the best way to engender greater interest is to lure the top cricketers from around the world. Until that happens, I'll stick to the Tests and ODIs.

Jamie Kah is riding high

Jamie Kah is racing's newest star and she is on track to become the first woman to win the Melbourne jockeys' premiership after a breakout spring carnival.

While there is a long way to go until the premiership is decided at the end of next July, Kah is on 30 wins, seven ahead of her nearest rival Damien Oliver.

ALL SET: Jamie Kah is on track to become the first woman to win the Melbourne jockeys' premiership. Photo: George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos via Getty Images

ALL SET: Jamie Kah is on track to become the first woman to win the Melbourne jockeys' premiership. Photo: George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos via Getty Images

After serving a nine-meeting suspension she incurred on Oaks Day, she rode a winning double at Moonee Valley last Saturday, beginning the meeting with a victory on Seb Song followed by another triumph in race six on All Banter.

Kah, who turns 25 next week, has garnered plenty of plaudits, with her pragmatic attitude and talented horsemanship endearing her to prominent owners and trainers. In six weeks during October and November, she rode four winners on Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley, steered home a Stakes treble at Sandown and finished third aboard Prince Of Arran in the Melbourne Cup.

Kah's ability to read a race and judge its pace is generally spot on, combined with her strength and balance.

History beckons the South Australian, who won the Adelaide jockeys' premiership as an apprentice in 2012-13. Seasoned veterans including Oliver and Craig Williams will not give up without a fight, but Kah will be difficult to catch in this form.

Origin carnival worth a try

Watching rugby league's State of Origin series last month made me envious.

Rugby league stole the concept from Australian Football and enormous credit needs to go to the code's administrators and players for turning State of Origin into the showpiece event it is today.

I'm old enough to remember the classic battles between Victoria-South Australia and Victoria-Western Australia late last century and yearn for a return of those fierce clashes.

The Big V was back earlier this year for the bushfire relief fundraiser against the All-Stars, and as good as it was to see the jumper back, the game lacked the passion of past interstate affairs.

While the players' enthusiasm was palpable, questions remain about the viability of reviving State of Origin on a regular basis. When would it be played? Would clubs and players fully support it? And importantly in these times, how would it be funded?

Unlike rugby league it can't be held during the season - clubs would reject that pretty quickly. That leaves either pre-season or post-season - the last Australian Football carnival to celebrate Australia's bicentenary was held in the 1988 pre-season in Adelaide.

But I believe the post-season would be preferable and a separate arrangement would have to be reached with the AFL Players Association as games in October/November would encroach on players' annual leave.

In an ideal world here's my plan - hold a carnival every two or three years when eight teams would compete in two divisions over three weeks similar to the format for national under 18 and under 16 championships.

In the leading division would be Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australia and Western Australia, while in division two Northern Territory, NSW/ACT, Queensland and Tasmania would play off.

Every team would play each other once, with the winner of each division decided on points. There would be a promotion/relegation system, with the top team from division two promoted at the expense of the bottom team in division one at the next carnival.

The concept would be enthusiastically backed by broadcasters keen for fresh AFL content at that time of the year and their support would play a major role in funding.

But it is interesting to note this year's TV ratings for the NSW-Queensland series were well down on usual figures, with rugby league fans preferring the games to be played mid-season rather than post-season. There are a few hurdles to overcome and it would require whole-hearted support, but it's worth a try at least.