04 Aug

Cricketing radical Trent Woodhill has quit as Melbourne Stars list manager to help Cricket Australia chart a way forward for the Big Bash League, similar to his role advising the ECB on the launch of The Hundred.

In assisting the head of the BBL, Alistair Dobson, with "global player acquisition" and the broader shape of the league, Woodhill will bring his straight talking to a competition that is desperate to reverse the trend of falling crowds and broadcast ratings in the last two seasons.

There are few projects more vital to Australian cricket than finding a way to get the BBL growing once more. Since its inception in 2011 the tournament has grown in value to be worth about half of CA's A$1.18 billion broadcast rights deal with Foxtel and Seven a little over two years ago.

Woodhill has relinquished his Stars BBL role, but will still work as head coach of the Stars' WBBL team, with CA claiming that his new advisory position will deal exclusively with the men's competition.

"I will continue in my coaching role with the WBBL side, which is something I'm really looking forward to. With the recent signing of Australian captain Meg Lanning, we're putting the pieces together to deliver a competitive squad for this year's tournament."

"Trent is a highly respected figure in both Australian cricket and across the world. We see him as an important contributor to the League's ongoing focus on innovation in and around the game," Dobson said. "Despite the uncertainties surrounding the current Covid-19 situation, we are committed to bringing the best available T20 players to Australia for BBL 10. Similarly, our commitment to innovation, a core part of the BBL DNA, has only been strengthened. We see Trent as a key driver of this fan-first agenda."

Woodhill's views on the game and how it should evolve go a long way beyond the mooted changes to this season's competition, including an overseas player draft and numerous in-game tweaks such as: bonus points available to teams for their progress at the 10-over point of an innings, substitutions also allowed within that same period, powerplay split between the first four overs of the innings and two overs floating elsewhere, free-hits for the bowling of wides, and the addition of extra breaks for advertisements and player strategy after every five overs.

He has held a long list of roles in domestic, international and T20 cricket around the world, and had played a large part in helping the ECB formulate its plans for The Hundred, which was due to make its debut this summer. Woodhill has coached David Warner and Steven Smith, who have worked with him for more than a decade.

John Stephenson


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