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India

Want to put cricketers into a good place for IPL, BBL head heaps praise on the 'world's best T20 league'

Indian Premier League (IPL) is the world's best domestic competition and Big Bash League (BBL) head Kim McConnie hopes it will continue to lead the way and provide a roadmap for other leagues in the world.

"Hats off to IPL. It is by far the best domestic competition in the world," Kim told PTI Bhasha at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"We often say that BBL is being used as a launch pad where cricketers around the world can showcase their talent and hopefully put them into a good place for the IPL," she added.

With a firm focus on growing the Women's League, Big Bash last year appointed Kim as its head. She joined Cricket Australia from PepsiCo, where she was Head of Sports Marketing at the company's global headquarters in New York.

"IPL has shown the roadmap for the other leagues in the world. We pay great attention to the IPL and notice what they are doing especially from the talent point of view. It will continue to lead the way in many factors," Kim said.

"We learnt from the IPL many things like fan engagement. Lot of our players come back with a lot of great stories from IPL. We have borrowed from IPL the concept of merging sports with entertainment and now BBL is like family entertainment where whole family come and sit together to watch matches."

Asked how difficult it is to keep the league clean from menaces like fixing, Kim said: "CA's integrity team is doing great work. We stand by our clean record. Most important is that our players and coaches take it seriously and will continue to do so." She is quite happy with the success graph of BBL and the way women Cricket is gaining popularity through WBBL.

"We are moving into eighth year of BBL and have shown rapid growth. We are now able to fill stadium like MCG with 60 70 thousand people coming to watch BBL games," Kim said.

"Players like Ricky Ponting are talking about it and it is now seen on the global scale as a dynamic domestic league.

"WBBL is into the fourth season and it is the best women's league around the world. We are very proud that some of Indian female players are also a part of it. It is very dynamic and gaining a lot of interest and I am sure it will lead the way for others," she added.

BBL is touching new grounds this year with an increase in number of venues and matches.

"This season is full home and away and we are having 16 extra games. This will lead BBL to new destinations, new markets and new fans. BBL matches will be held in Gold Coast, Geelong, Canberra, Alex Springs for the first time," Kim said.

Other sports like Soccer is providing a lot of competition to cricket leagues but Kim said they are ready to accept the challenges.

"Leagues like BBL and IPL are very important for the game of cricket. Our aim is to inspire the next generation to pick up cricket bat may be in the backyard, whether in our formal participation programme or beach Cricket," she said.

"We have 1.5 million kids playing cricket and one third of them are girls. The growth is phenomenal. We are making it sure that all the kids across Australia have the ability to play cricket where and when they want."

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