Big Bash: Aussies turn attention to Auckland-based franchise

Australia's lucrative Twenty20 Big Bash wants to expand, with New Zealand firmly in its sights.

Cricket officials across the Tasman have reportedly spoken to broadcasters about introducing two new teams, including a franchise from Auckland.

"Longer term, there is an aspiration to expand - longer season, more teams," says Cricket Australia fan engagement executive general manager Anthony Everard.

And the prospect of an NZ-based team seems to have broadcasters excited.

"I think it's a bit of a no-brainer," says Channel Seven commentator Jim Wilson. "If you can attract some star power like some of those Kiwis who are absolute superstars...

"If you can get them into that franchise in Auckland, I think it's got merit."

This season, the only Kiwis playing in the Big Bash are former Blackcaps captain Brendon McCullum and opener Anton Devcich, although former internationals Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond coach teams.

While it's the main sports story in Australian newspapers today, New Zealand Cricket officials refused to speak to Newshub.

But what is certain, if a Big Bash team was to be based at Eden Park, it would push the NZ Super Smash off the back page.

"There's an awful lot being invested in Super Smash at the moment, so you've got to be very careful about decisions that can start to dilute that," says Auckland Cricket chief executive Iain Laxon.

But there's only one stakeholder Big Bash organisers should listen to - the fans.

"I think it'd be excellent," said one local fan. "I'd go to that."

Said another: "You'd probably compare it to the Warriors or the Phoenix. It's probably a step up… I dunno, we'll see."

If we see it, an Auckland Big Bash team wouldn't take the field until at least 2021.

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