Australia’s Big Bash League T20 tournament has announced changes to playing conditions in an attempt to encourage high-scoring matches and bring in more strategic nuances to a match.
This is no bat-flip to replace coin toss, mind you. The changes are drastic in terms of what a normal T20 game entails.
The 10th season of the eight-franchise tournament was initially due to begin on December 3, but it will now start seven days later. The women’s version is currently being played entirely in Sydney.
Here are the three rule-changes announced:
Power surge: Powerplay first four overs + two overs batters choice. The batting side chooses when to take control. There’s a four-over powerplay at the start of the innings instead of six, but the batting team can take the other two overs any time from 11th over onwards.
The X-Factor: A player named as 12th or 13th man at the start can come into the playing XI. Halfway through the first innings, both teams can change their plans. The substitute can come into the game beyond the 10th over of the first innings and replace any player who is yet to bat, or has bowled no more than one over.
Bash Boost: This is an extra bonus point available to teams. According to cricket.com.au, “there will be a bonus point awarded halfway through the second innings. The team chasing will receive the bonus point if they’re above the equivalent 10-over score of their opposition, while if they’re trailing, the fielding side will receive the point. Teams will also now be awarded three points for winning the match, as opposed to the traditional two.”— BBL / Cricket Australia
“We need innovation because people like change, but I think these (changes) will actually improve the game itself,” said Trent Woodhill, the Melbourne Stars WBBL coach who has this summer joined Cricket Australia as a player acquisition and cricket consultant for the BBL.
“I come from things from a high-performance perspective, rather than just a gimmick, so I like that these changes pass the high-performance test around strategy and elite performance.
“It’s going to put pressure on leaders and coaches. Having been involved in over 300 T20 matches in the women’s and men’s games, T20s have a pattern, and this will blow that pattern up.
“It’ll make players have to think on their feet a little bit, and … it’s forcing you on gameday to have a narrative that both fans and broadcasters alike will have to delve into and ask questions of the decisions being made, or not made.”
All three of the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 players – spinner Rashid Khan, batsman Dawid Malan and allrounder Mohammad Nabi – have signed on to play the tournament.
The action will start in Hobart with the Hurricanes facing the Sydney Sixers before the Melbourne Stars take on Brisbane Heat a day later in Canberra.