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Big Bash season needs to be shorter: Siddle | Blue Mountains Gazette

Peter Siddle has urged BBL directors to cut the length of the season but believes they were right to block Steve Smith’s request to play.

Siddle’s Adelaide Strikers take on the Sydney Sixers at SCG on Wednesday night, when the winner advances to Friday night’s final against the Perth Scorchers at Marvel Stadium.

This season will end during the school holidays.

But concerns about its duration, which have been regularly raised since a broadcast deal in 2018 saw the competition extended to a full season back and forth, remain.

Strikers spinner Rashid Khan and Sixers fly-half James Vince are among the international signings to have already left Australia.

Siddle believes this summer, in which matches have been repeatedly changed due to COVID-19 cases, shows it is possible to move the tournament into a tighter window.

“It’s not a hidden fact that it’s a bit long,” Siddle said after being named captain of the BBL Tournament Team.

“Shortening it is the main goal.

“The word of anyone overseas that I talk to is that their biggest worry is that they don’t want to come here that long and be stuck.

“If you’re a shorter tournament, you probably don’t lose guys like Rashid Khan, James Vince, Sandeep (Lamichhane) (before the finals).

“This year we had to rearrange the games… now we realize that maybe to shorten this season we might have to play back-to-back games and do different things.”

Cricket Australia’s decision to turn down the Sixers’ bid to sign Smith for the final was widely criticised.

Siddle disagreed, arguing it was a simple case of “rules are rules”.

“They need to be tracked sometimes and obviously they just fell a bit behind for the Sixers,” the veteran pacer said.

“It’s probably no different for us to have Heady (Travis Head) and Kez (Alex Carey) under contract for the whole season.

“That’s the risk you take.”

The Sixers chose not to sign Smith because they believed he would be part of Australia’s ODI series against New Zealand, which was ultimately postponed.

Meanwhile, Siddle also defended Fawad Ahmed after claiming a controversial hold in Sunday night’s win over Sydney Thunder.

Thunder captain Usman Khawaja said he accepted the referee’s decision but “it looked like a blade of grass had hit the ball 100 per cent”.

“I was in cover so I had a good view,” Siddle said.

“At the time it would have been – you just take the defender at his word and it’s over.

“I enjoyed the good old days when you take a word for it, get over it and move on.

“Line ball is the game.”

Australian Associated Press