Cricket: Kiwi side not a big priority for bash league

Joe Burns hits out for the Brisbane Heat. Photo / Getty Images
Joe Burns hits out for the Brisbane Heat. Photo / Getty Images

The prospects of a New Zealand team entering Australia's Big Bash League are still a long way off, according to Cricket Australia's Mike McKenna.

Australia's premier Twenty20 cricket competition has been attracting plenty of interest on New Zealand shores, but the thought of having a Kiwi side participating in the next few years remains optimistic.

The Big Bash League had previously explored the option of including teams from New Zealand and South Africa to create a competition equivalent to Super Rugby, but the logistics involved proved impossible.

Although the idea of introducing a New Zealand side to the competition has been discussed further, chief of the BBL McKenna says it is not currently a priority for the competition.

"There have been a number of suggestions about a New Zealand team coming into the competition, but our focus at the moment is the growth of the league," McKenna told Newstalk ZB.

McKenna believes other Australian centres would be more likely to gain inclusion in the BBL before a New Zealand team is considered.

"When we do [look at expansion], we've got at least three big population centres in Australia - Gold Coast, Canberra and Geelong - with great cricket venues and a cricket culture and a very big population and believe they should be the first cab off the rank. That's where it makes it hard for us at this current time to contemplate a New Zealand team being amongst that."

Despite that, the Big Bash continues to create ties with New Zealand sides, with the Sydney Thunder becoming the first BBL team to play a match in New Zealand when they faced Canterbury in an exhibition match late last year.

Partially as a result of that relationship, Canterbury batsman Henry Nicholls joined the Thunder as an injury replacement for Jacques Kallis for last night's must-win game against the Sydney Sixerts.

As those relationships continue to evolve, McKenna won't rule out a Kiwi side joining the league further down the track.

"The concept of New Zealand teams will certainly be discussed again before we make any final decisions on where's the best place to put expansion teams when that time comes."


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