The whole thing was started by Ben Edmondson.
Edmonson was a player who you easily would have missed. He made his first class debut in 2003 for Western Australia, a few months after representing Denmark for some reason. He was a pretty consistent bowler, who took 194 first-class wickets at 33.61. His best in an innings was 7-95 against his birth state of Queensland.
However, he’s notable for one reason.
He bowled the first ball in the Big Bash.
On January 6, 2006, ten years ago today, Ben Edmonson bowled a delivery to either Rob Quiney or Jon Moss, to kickstart the 2005-06 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, and with it, T20’s march to dominance in Australia.
To be fair, this wasn’t the first game of Twenty20 in Australia. That was between the same teams, at the same venue, in January 2005. And Australia had played in the first international T20, against New Zealand in Auckland.
But that night, which the Bushrangers won by two runs, was the beginning of the revolution.
There were only seven matches in the first season of the Big Bash. That was because T20 was, at the time, an experimental thing, not seen as serious cricket. By the last season of the Big Bash, before it transitioned to a city-based format, there were 20.
The tournaments got bigger, and bigger. I went to my first cricket game during the Big Bash.
Eventually, the state based competition was unable to keep up the interest, so the Big Bash League came along, with eight city based teams.
International superstars came to play. Sangakarra, Gayle, McCullum. When Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels went head to head in 2013, it drove interest to insane levels.
Ten started broadcasting the tournament in 2014-15. The ratings were spectacular, and the commentary was praised. Fans were hooked.
On Saturday, 80,833 people showed up to the Melbourne Derby. That was the highest domestic cricket crowd in Australian history.
So think. If you’re watching the Big Bash tonight, or for the rest of the tournament, think back to Ben Edmondson ten years ago.
And thank him.