The 2021-22 edition of the Super Smash is just days away and I for one can’t wait. To ease my excitement, here’s what I want to see, and here’s what I expect to see between now and the end of January.
What I want to see.
- Big numbers watching. Despite one significant casualty because of it, getting every game televised is a phenomenal effort. Even better is the 40 live free-to-air matches. In a summer with a limited home international schedule, the Super Smash should be the winner in terms of eyeballs.
- Stars deliver. With white-ball specialists like Guptill, Neesham, Milne, Sodhi and Siefert likely to be available for the majority of it, big performances (ideally not against Otago though) from them will help significantly with #1 and #3. Not to mention, with all the WhiteFerns available, there’ll be more than a few of them keen to get in form ahead of the World Cup.
- Big numbers at the ground. It’s easy for me to say this as domestic cricket nuffy but it’s a good product and the MAs are constantly improving the matchday experience. Not to mention the quality of the cricket which is the best I can remember in quite some time. This is a competition that helped produce the second-best T20 team on the planet and the standard reflects that.
- Young players to push on. There is a growing group of young players in these competitions who are on the verge of pushing themselves into the national selectors’ thinking. It would not be a stretch to think that Nathan Smith, Katene Clarke, Josh Clarkson and Michael Rae could be in the mix for the 2024 T20 World Cup alongside some capped players like Ravindra, Allen, Sears etc. Likewise, on the Women’s side, it’s a big summer for Gabby Sullivan, Fran Jonas and Molly Loe.
- An uninterrupted season. Already this looks like wishful thinking with Auckland looking like they’ll miss the first fortnight and play catchup.
- Another cracking finals day. The doubleheader finals matchup at the Basin Reserve last summer was one of the great days of domestic cricket. More of the same please – albeit with a tinge of Blue and Gold.
- No big gaps between games. Not so much a want to see but rather I am pleased to see Ford Trophy games sprinkled midweek between fixtures. It was absolute madness some teams played once every seven days throughout January.
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Next; Women’s competition predictions.