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BBL facing identity crisis after abandonment continues disastrous start to season

The farcical scenes in the Renegades and Scorchers clash added to a tumultuous time for Cricket Australia and the BBL.

Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland, pictured here in the BBL.
Nathan Lyon (L) and Scott Boland (centre) weren't allowed to play their opening BBL games, before the Renegades and Scorchers clash with abandoned (R). Image: Getty/AAP

The BBL has to work out what it wants to be before it's too late. Is it a rock concert, a fireworks show, Cirque du Soleil with stumps or a genuine Twenty20 cricket competition played hard and fast by some of the world's best?

It’s hard to know at the moment. It's a bit of everything. The farcical scenes witnessed at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium, where the game between the Renegades and Scorchers was abandoned due to a wet pitch, continued an unhappy start to BBL13.

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How could water seep under the covers at this level? It would not be tolerated at club cricket, let alone in an (alleged) international-standard league.

Even after the game was abandoned and the broadcasters were on the ground trying to explain what had just happened, they had to compete with a ground announcer working through his Spotify playlist as the pyrotechnics bloke sent his collection skywards. Before the Geelong debacle, the BBL was showing signs it was looking for a shark to jump.

The sport's leading off-spinner Nathan Lyon was left out of the Renegades XI for their clash with his old club, the Sydney Sixers, at the SCG on Friday night. It promised to be box office cricket, with Lyon upset at his departure from the Sixers and out to prove a point in front of the fans that once adored him.

Match officials and ground staff, pictured here during the Renegades and Scorchers clash in the BBL.
Match officials speak to ground staff during the Renegades and Scorchers clash in the BBL. (AAP Image/Morgan Hancock) (AAPIMAGE)

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But Cricket Australia put the kybosh on it, ordering the offie to put his feet up before this week's first Test rather than roll his arm over for four overs. Australia paceman Scott Boland was also put on ice, even though he won't feature against Pakistan.

"He definitely wanted to play. I know that. He’s been talking about it for a long time," Renegades skipper Nic Maddison said of Lyon. "If it’s one game or two games and you can have someone like Nathan Lyon or Scott Boland playing, I think we need to make it happen. We want the product to be as strong as possible."

Melbourne Renegades players, pictured here in the BBL.
Melbourne Renegades players look at the pitch. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The length of the competition has long been a talking point, with this year's fixture list taking a decent haircut. For a competition unashamedly aimed at the TikTok generation, matches are dragging on longer than a Baz Luhrmann movie.

DRS calls take an age, drinks and gloves are run out to batters almost every over, field placement chats resemble an architect talking to clients over their house plans - it all sucks up time. "Make the games faster. I think last night we got off the field just before 11pm which is just ridiculous if you’re trying to attract kids … that should be a priority," Renegades veteran Aaron Finch said the day after the Sixers game.

With increased competition and money from overseas T20 leagues, the BBL needs to get its act together. Quickly.

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