Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson celebrates his half-century. (Photo by IANS)

Shane Watson, the former Australian cricketer, reckons that the quality of cricket in the Big Bash League (BBL) has gone down drastically and the ‘entertainment gimmicks’ have replaced it. The BBL organisers had a hard time in the previous season due to the low attendance at the venues. Hence, a number of changes are being thought about regarding the next edition of the BBL.

Meanwhile, the 38-year Watson didn’t mince any words in saying that the BBL has fallen behind the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The veteran said that the IPL and PSL have kept cricket as their top priority and never thought about compromising on it. He said that the pomp and show of the tournaments hasn’t affected the performances of players.

The quality of the cricket has been put on the back burner in the BBL: Shane Watson

“The one thing that the IPL and PSL do is make the quality of the cricket, the product, the number one priority. They know that if this is of the highest quality possible, then the longevity of the tournament and the commercial growth and success will look after itself,” Watson was quoted as saying in his T20 Stars blog.

“Don’t get me wrong they have all of the bells and whistles as well, however the glitz and glamour goes on before and after the matches but very rarely does the entertainment affect the players ability to perform at their best. This is where the BBL has really lost its way,” Watson stated.

“The quality of the cricket has been put on the back burner in the Big Bash and the entertainment gimmicks have been brought to the forefront,” he added.

Back in April 2019, Watson announced his retirement from the BBL, having scored 1031 runs in 41 matches with six fifties and a century. However, he has continued to ply his trade in the IPL, representing the Chennai Super Kings, and the PSL, playing for the Quetta Gladiators.

In fact, in the PSL, he is the all-time leading run-scorers among the foreign players with 1,361 runs in 46 games. In the IPL, he was the Player of the Series in the inaugural edition back in 2008. There he scored 472 runs and picked 17 wickets, and thereafter his career for Australia also went uphill.