Cooper's focus close to home for NZ cricket

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2013

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New Zealand Cricket's general manager of domestic competitions, David Cooper, has suggested the prospect of New Zealand representation in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 league couldn't be written off, but the focus remains on progressing a local competition.

The Otago Volts success in the Champions League tournament in India, which included an impressive 62-run win over Australian side the Perth Scorchers yesterday morning, has reignited calls from some quarters that New Zealand representation in the Big Bash League should be looked into.

New Zealand Cricket Players' Association boss Heath Mills has always been a fan of the idea, as are leading players including Scott Styris.

Cooper, however, was happy with the progress being made in New Zealand's own domestic competition at the moment.

"Obviously the Big Bash is right on our doorstep, and is fantastic, but at the moment we've got a lot of things we can do internally to make us better at the game," Cooper said.

"I think everything is a prospect from a New Zealand cricket perspective, we wouldn't take it off the table completely. The reality is there is lot more we can do with our own competitions to strengthen them."

"The likes of the Phoenix, Breakers and Warriors are quite different scenarios where they are a franchise team playing in an Australian competition where as we've got six teams to look after at that level."

Cooper said the Volts, who have won four straight games in India, have helped to lift the profile of domestic cricket leading into the New Zealand summer.

"We're getting pretty close to the start [of the New Zealand season], so the fact the Volts are performing does help the profile of our domestic cricket."

Each team in the Champions League competition receives $606,000 to help with participation costs at the Champions League tournament, while those in the main draw receive a guaranteed extra $242,000 on top of the participation grant.

If the Volts are to make the semifinals their prize purse will be bumped to $606,000, if they made the final and were beaten they would pick up $1.57 million and if they win the tournament they would earn just over $3.5 million.

Under an agreement with all six New Zealand major associations, and the Players Association, when New Zealand teams were first invited to the Champions League the players take half of the prize money.

The 15 Volts players would each pick up about $100,000 if they won the tournament.

All six associations would also receive a slice of the prizemoney pie although Otago would take two slices.

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Cooper said everyone in New Zealand would be willing the Volts on to get as far as they can in the tournament.

"We'll be all singing blue and yellow," he said in reference to the tune that has been regularly played during the Volts games in India.

- The Southland Times

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