Former captain Brendon McCullum has suggested a franchise from New Zealand be included in the 2020-21 edition of Australia's Big Bash League.
McCullum had a prolific international career with New Zealand – and played for the Brisbane Heat in the BBL for several seasons.
He recently succeeded former head coach Jacques Kallis at the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. The 2020 IPL has been suspended indefinitely as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If there is a shortage of international cricket what an opportunity for the Big Bash, which if we are being honest has probably just tailed off a little bit of late, what a great opportunity to really morph that back into Australia sporting fans' eyes,” McCullum told SEN radio.
“And I think what a great opportunity to maybe bring a New Zealand team into the Big Bash or use New Zealand players as local players because there may be a distinct lack of overseas players.
“A little bit of creative thinking. It may be just for one season but we have to prepare for the long-term if you are going to grow the game there may be some value.”
The Big Bash League currently features seven other Australian franchises alongside the Heat: the Adelaide Strikers, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Sydney Thunder, Sydney Sixers, Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers. The Sixers are the reigning champions, after beating the Stars in the 2019-20 final.
“The fact we had such a dominant season – we played so well throughout the whole tournament and we were able to play a lot of our list and get some game time into different people – it was just such a successful season, to see different guys stand up at different times,” lamented Stars all-rounder Glenn Maxwell after the final earlier this year.
“To fall short in a game where we thought we were right in it, even at the end, we never felt out of it, even when it was 20 an over, we still backed these guys to get this, it's hard to take.”
New Zealand's premier T20 domestic competition is the Super Smash. The tournament doesn't necessarily attract the calibre of stars from abroad as the BBL.