'Weeks too long': Has the BBL finally jumped the shark?

D'Arcy Short and Glenn Maxwell, pictured here shaking hands after the BBL clash between the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes.
D'Arcy Short and Glenn Maxwell shake hands after the BBL clash between the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

A text came through from a mate as a BBL game between some team in blue was coasting to victory against a mob in green on some ground somewhere in Australia in the shadows of midnight.

"When does this comp finish? I've had relationships start and end quicker than this," the message read.

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My friend will be happy to know it will be all over soon enough, with a protracted finals series starting on Friday and mercifully ending a week later.

It will have taken us 55 days – from December 5 to January 28 - and 61 matches between the first ball bowled and the trophy being lifted.

The competition is at least two weeks too long.

It starts too early and finishes too late, with a whole lot of meaningless games along the way.

To be fair, Covid restrictions and illness have played their part in diluting this year's contest.

It's forced teams to use club cricketers and begin games half an hour after David Koch has knocked off for the day or play until Rage comes on as triple headers are crammed into one day at the same venue.

Glenn Maxwell light-up moments are rare and mediocrity rewarded.

The Adelaide Strikers could win the whole thing despite entering the finals with a 6-8 win/loss record.

Viewer fatigue has well and truly set in. Even the most tragic of cricket tragics finding themselves flicking through the Netflix catalogue in recent weeks (a quick heads up: give Unforgivable a miss if you come across it).

Adam Zampa bemoans length of BBL season

The players are also feeling the pinch, with Melbourne Stars and Australian T20 leggie Adam Zampa contemplating walking away from it all.

International stars either give the tournament a wide berth due to its length or are forced to return home early to meet other obligations.

"Big Bash used to be a great time and unfortunately with the world as it is at the moment, it’s getting a lot harder, the season’s probably too long and it definitely feels like it’s dragging on again," Zampa said.

"I’m definitely going through periods where it’s feeling tougher than usual to get up for.

"When it was an eight-game season it actually felt like the cricket was more competitive because you had to play well straight away.”

Adam Zampa, pictured here in action for the Melbourne Stars against the Brisbane Heat.
Adam Zampa in action for the Melbourne Stars against the Brisbane Heat. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images) (Morgan Hancock via Getty Images)

Ah, those were the days.

The inaugural BBL season in 2011/12 featured just 28 group games before expanding to 32 for the next two seasons.

It basically covered the Christmas school holiday period.

It stayed that way until some genius in marketing deciding more was better, exploding from 32 to 56 regular season games in 2018/19.

An extra dish was added to the all-you-can-eat buffet in 2019/20, adding a fifth team to the finals series just to stretch things out that little longer and give broadcasters an extra match.

It begs the question: If you can have too much of a good thing, is it possible to have too much of an okay thing?

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