Big Bash League is going to get bigger

Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle and Geelong are all in the running to have a Big Bash League team as soon as next summer as the reinvigorated KFC T20 competition continues to explode.

With ratings and crowds surging ahead of expectations, Cricket Australia has already started looking at further expansion years ahead of its original timetable.

And there will be an attempt to have Australia’s biggest stars play in more games outside their international commitments.

“It’s going gangbusters,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said. “We’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be.”

Fox Sports ratings for the Big Bash League have almost doubled from an average of 165,000 to 288,000.

Last month, a match between Shane Warne’s Melbourne Stars and Chris Gayle’s Sydney Thunder attracted 472,000 viewers, an extraordinary number for pay television.

Veterans such as Matthew Hayden and Stuart MacGill coming out of retirement have added an extra dimension but the Warne factor has been enormous.

Big Bash League boss Mike McKenna said preliminary planning has already started for a 10-team competition.

“Geelong, Gold Coast, ACT andNewcastlehave populations which are attractive to us,” he said.

They aren’t served by international cricket, he said.

“There is definitely scope to look at expansion in the near future.”

Buford Balony says: I don’t think we need 4 more teams. Look at some of the guys playing already that aren’t up to scratch. Just look at Sydney Thunder, as soon as Gayle’s out there gone. The rest of the team may as well been picked from my indoor cricket team. By the way we are on top of the table at the moment.