The three rule innovations introduced for the 2020-21 Big Bash League to “encourage and reward positive, high-scoring cricket” have drawn strong criticism following their announcement on Monday morning.
Sydney Thunder and Australian batsman Usman Khawaja was among those to criticise the new BBL rules, which comes after issues between Cricket Australia and host broadcaster Channel Seven.
The BBL has introduced three new innovations; the Power Surge, the X-Factor and the Bash Boost.
The Power Surge will enable batting teams to move two overs of the power play any time from the 11th over onwards. Likewise, teams will also have the ability to substitute in an X-Factor player at the 10-over mark of the first innings, to replace any player who is yet to bat or has bowled no more than one over.
The Bash Boost is a tweak to the point scoring system, with four competition points up for grabs each match, but three for the overall win and one for the Bash Boost, awarded halfway through the second innings for the team who is ‘ahead’.
Cricket Australia’s Head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said: “The Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost prioritise scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match.
“We’re confident our fans will love what these innovations bring to the game as many of the worlds top T20 players, plus our next generation of Australian stars, bring them to life on field.”
However, experienced Australian batsman Khawaja responded on Twitter 24 hours after the announcement, critiquing the rules for their complicated nature.
“So had a day to think about new BBL rules,” Khawaja wrote.
“My biggest issue is that the BBL is all about (and great at) getting new people involved whom have never played. But the rule changes complicate what’s already a very complicated game (for newcomers). Shouldn’t we be going the other way?”
Former Australia and current Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he expected the rules would be utilised by teams, despite some claims they’d be irrelevant.
“I think we’d use it a bit more than people will think,” Lehmann said, speaking on behalf of BBL coaches.
“If you’re batting first and you’re four for not many, you need an extra batter and you’d sub a bowler out to allow you to get a bigger total.
“And vice versa; if you’re batting really well and you’re none or one for 100, you could sub a batter out and bring in another bowler.”
On the Power Surge, he added: “I think you’ll leave late if you can, but you won’t leave it until (overs) 19 and 20. I think you’ll take it at around the 15-16-over mark.
“But you might need to get ahead of the rate to get back into the game, so you might need to take it at 11.”