Welcome to the party: your guide to everything Big Bash

Scorchers fans strike a pose before the start of the match Getty Images

Big Bash, what's that like, a fun party?

Sort of, if you're an Australian kid finding ways to enjoy your summer holidays. Even otherwise, the Big Bash League (the BBL, henceforth) is a city-based T20 tournament that has been a big hit among Australian fans - hardcore and casual - in recent times.

A T20 tournament?

Yes, an eight-team tournament like the IPL and others of its kind that's now into its eighth edition.

Ah, so who are these teams?

Two teams each from the two biggest cities - Melbourne and Sydney, and one each from the rest - Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart

What are they called?

Melbourne's got the Renegades and the Stars, Sydney Thunder and Sixers, Hobart has the Hurricanes, Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers.

Two teams from Melbourne and Sydney, why would that be?

Cross-town rivalries are a big deal in sports across the world, and the BBL is no different. "Derbies" between the two same-city franchises are a big draw.

While we are at it, you should totally watch the Melbourne Derby on New Year's Day. It's become the BBL's showpiece fixture, and over 80,000 turn up to watch it at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and television audiences are known to dig it too.

These derbies, how many of them are there in a season?

Ok, so make a note. Two Melbourne derbies and two Sydney derbies. The Melbourne derbies are on New Year's Day (Jan 1) and Jan 19, while the Sydney derbies are on Christmas Eve (Dec 24) and Feb 2.

Big teams mean big stars, right? Are David Warner and Steven Smith playing?

Not yet, no. Those two are still serving their suspensions, although Cameron Bancroft, the third guy in that whole ball-tampering thing, is completing his nine-month ban and will be available for Perth Scorchers from December 30.

In any case, Warner and Smith are usually out for the best part of the BBL, since the Australian international summer coincides with it.

None of that's a buzzkill. There's enough star power for you to keep you interested. Here are some of the biggest draws from different parts of the world.

It's not just your Gabba and your MCG where the Big Bash will be played. From Renegades' Marvel Stadium in Melbourne and Thunder's Spotless Stadium to - for the first time in the tournament's history - Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium, the Big Bash spreads its wings far and wide across Australia.

Know your Bash Brothers, the powerhouse opening pair for Brisbane Heat - Lynn (of "Lynnsanity" fame) and "Baz" McCullum. A nickname that's borrowed from '90s American Baseball, these two have proved a huge hit among Heat fans over the years.

And talking of baseball, watch out for 22-year-old Hurricanes quick Aaron Summers, who switched from baseball to cricket when he was 13, and has already clocked 150 km/h on the speed gun last year. Summers might be just one T20 match old, but he already has a Pakistan Super League contract. Loves his KFC zingers, delivers some with the white ball in hand too.

There's a new Pope in town - Australia's next big spin-bowling hope, Sixers' Lloyd Pope is a wristspinner who impressed with his bag of tricks at last year's Under-19 World Cup. He is set for his Big Bash bow this time.

If you're an Australian kid reading this, Big Bash isn't all that far from backyard (or street) cricket at all: there will be "hills" or "flats" this year instead of the toss. Who needs coins when you have bats?

And if you're from England and want to watch your big superstars in action, most of the games provide some terrific morning viewing. Who doesn't like cricket with their cornflakes, or nice distraction when in the office (don't worry, we won't tell the boss).

Before you go, know that there are kids who grew up supporting a Big Bash side now old enough to play for one: Sydney Thunder's Jason Sangha, for one, Australia's batting hope like bowling's Pope.