Bring it back

Last night while watching the World Twenty20 an ad came on promoting the return of the Ryobi cup on Fox Sports. The ad brought back childhood memories of sitting on the lounge room floor watching domestic one day cricket, back in the good old days when it was still shown on free to air TV. Then I had a thought…

Remember the “hit the Mercantile Mutual sign” competition where a bunch of signs were placed on the boundary around the ground and the first player to hit one won a cash prize. A prize that would continue to jackpot until someone won it, if memory serves me correctly (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) Mark Waugh snagged a couple of hundred grand after hitting the sign thanks to the jackpot. The concept was great, and it is an idea that is so ridiculously perfect for Twenty20 cricket I can’t believe it hasn’t already been brought back, after all T20 is all about the big hitters, right? We all like seeing sixes raining down, right? Right?

Keep in mind that this was at least a good 15 or so years ago (can’t recall how long the concept continued, if at all, after the Mercantile Mutual sponsorship ended) – which is just another reason to bring it back as it would be a ‘new concept’ to most younger cricket fans. From memory there were six signs placed evenly around the boundary with a seventh placed by the opposing captain in a position of his chossing. But its 2012, and there’s an entirely different sponsor, so you could change it up a little, for example instead of just basic signs you could have giant KFC buckets. Hit the ball into the bucket. Profit. A few ideas:

  • Eight signs equally spaced – two straight at each end (long on/off), mid-wicket, cover, backward point, backward square leg
  • A couple of ‘bonus buckets’ placed out in the crowd at a position chosen by the opposing captain – perhaps they don’t even have to be in the same exact spot, just so long as that there is equal opportunity for batters at both ends
  • Cash jackpot prize – half to the player/team, half to a nominated charity for the player/team
  • Run a fan competition to pick the player who will hit the sign

Yes, it might be a gimmicky idea – but isn’t that what Twenty 20 *is* – it would also give the BBL a point of differentiation from other T20 tournaments. More specifically it would give it a point of differentiation that isn’t irritatingly loud horns in the crowd, or pointless stereotypical dancing girls on the side lines in-between fireworks. “Because the IPL has gimmick X” is not a reason, let’s have our own things, make the rest of the world want to copy us – and not the other way around.