Big Bash heating up
THE Big Bash has started with its usual excitement and carnival atmosphere.
The Brisbane Heat's win on Wednesday night has provided hope that they can go all the way.
They essentially have the same team as last year with James Hopes out and Brendon McCullum in as captain and the addition of South Australian Alex Ross to their already great batting line-up.
The Heat's best bowler from last year, West Indian spinner Samuel Badree, is back.
However, the bowling unit as a whole lacks the decisive edge especially at the death overs of an innings.
Batting will revolve around McCullum, Chris Lynn and Joe Burns with all three proven match winners.
Ross, Jimmy Pierson and Ben Cutting will all need to play important innings throughout this campaign.
The Heat suffered a horrendous start to their past two campaigns. They will be hoping the early win gives them the momentum to see them back in finals calculations.
The Heat's first home game is next Friday with other home fixtures being on January 3, January 11 and January 20.
Get along and enjoy the entertainment of the best T20 comp in the world.
There will be plenty of activities and sights for the whole family to enjoy.
Ipswich Logan Hornets all-rounder Harry Wood will showcase his talent in a curtain raiser at SCG on Tuesday before the Sixes game against the Scorchers.
He was selected in Ricky Ponting XI to take on Adam Gilchrist XI in a best of match showcasing Australia's best under 19s talent.
Hot issue: Rep cricket thoughts
TO follow on from the hot issue column of QT sports editor David Lems regarding representative cricket.
I believe there is too much representative cricket for country players at the moment.
For the layman, the Webb Shield team represents the best in Ipswich while Plunkett team is the Reserve Grade to the Webb Shield team.
A SEQ team is selected for the three-day tournament of the T20 Bulls Masters Challenge at Mackay and a two-day Schaeffer Shield carnival.
The South Queensland team plays over five days in two different tournaments.
That is a lot of representative cricket in this decade for the amateur players.
The SEQ team is now basically the Ipswich team with the quality of players from Beaudesert, Logan, Lockyer and Fassifern Associations falling well off the pace.
The more Ipswich players that are needed to travel and play (including playing on Fridays now), the more commitment dramas arise with work and families.
As for the Webb Shield, it is a shell of its former glory with Tweed, Gold Coast and other teams who played every so often all now absent.
Each year too, the Webb team always seems to have two or three players pull out on match eve for whatever reason.
The players that are left struggle on.
It is worse for Plunkett - the team that gets raided.
Plunkett teams are drastically understrength and have been for the past 10-15 years.
The Plunkett Cup competition has got many teams from different associations from all over Brisbane, all at about the same quality level.
However, Ipswich's Plunkett teams cannot pick Schaeffer Shield players.
In the past, with SEQ teams involved in Schaeffer, Ipswich might have supplied six-eight players. Now they provide all 12.
This leaves Plunkett wafer thin with the talent pool.
Maybe, it might be time to cull the Plunkett team altogether.
It is not ideal cutting representative cricket, but in the current climate of unavailability of most top-line players, it is probably the easiest solution especially for selectors and managers of that team instead chasing players on all Saturday night.
The commitment of the elite players will always get a bit hazy with a heavy workload, especially the travelling part.
Most of the best players in Ipswich are in their 30s and have families.
Invariably, the question to be asked if Toowoomba teams are partaking in the new mega comp, would there be a need for Webb to continue at all unless it's for a one-off game.
If a Webb Shield team was chosen for a one-off match against Toowoomba each year, I am sure all of the best cricketers in Ipswich will be committed to play.
Lastly, it is imperative the Ipswich Association map out its representative calendar early on the next season. This will put the onus back on the players to be available.
The players will have time to organise their families and work before committing to teams.
I wish the readership a safe and Merry Christmas.
Remember in backyard cricket on Boxing Day, your mum always get two lives while batting.
State of play
Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket points table heading into the Christmas break (*extra game to play after bye): Centrals 35.50, Taipans 35.44, Laidley 21.79, Northsiders* 17.60, Swifts 10.77, Thunder 8.49, Brothers* 5.94.
The competition resumes on January 7.