Australia's domestic T20 tournament, the Big Bash League, will be under the microscope this season as Cricket Australia steps up its make-or-break campaign to win over new audiences in the sub-continent.
Major changes have since been implemented in the T20 league, including the hiring of former Wallaby Pat Howard in the freshly created role of general manager of team performance, a new selection system featuring captain Michael Clarke on the panel and a new governance framework, featuring three independent directors.
On the eve of a key address by CA chief executive James Sutherland at the 2012-13 season launch in Sydney, he said a major focus this summer would be a thorough assessment of the Big Bash League, after it drew strong crowds and breathed much-needed air into the game last summer.
"Tellingly, the coming summer is going to be a test of whether the amazing public support for last year's inaugural, eight-team Big Bash League was a novelty or not. By the end of summer, we and the fans will have a real sense of how we are going with our stated ambition to regain the No.1 ranking across all formats and to also win back the Ashes," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Sutherland, as saying.
""All the indicators tell us that big crowds and top TV ratings are going to be the norm for the new competition. One of the things that was really pleasing about BBL season one was the post-season research which confirmed that BBL attracted new fans to cricket, particularly kids and girls and women," he added.
Sutherland said the "depth of talent" in the Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day competitions gave him confidence and that "we are going into summer with so many of our top stars fit and ready to fire", the paper said.
He added that the success of the Southern Stars, who won their second consecutive World Twenty20 early this month, was having a positive impact in showing girls and young women that there was a pathway through cricket to representing Australia, it added. (ANI)