Power Surges, Bash Boosts: New BBL rules revealed
Three changes to the BBL's playing conditions will add a more strategic element to the T20 tournament, says CA's consultant Trent Woodhill
16 November 2020, 09:01 AM AEST
KFC BBL captains and coaches are set to become more accountable for their decisions with the introduction of three new rules for the 10th edition of the tournament, with the league's consultant Trent Woodhill insisting the innovations will "blow up" what he considers the regular patterns of a T20 contest.
All three rules are designed to maximise interest throughout the full 40 overs of a contest and ensure strategic thinking is rewarded.
The 'Power Surge' is a two-over period during which the fielding team is allowed only two players outside the inner fielding circle. The batting side can call for this at any point from the 11th over of their innings. The fielding restrictions replicate those of the usual Powerplay at the beginning of an innings, which has been shortened to four overs.
An 'X-factor Player', named as either the 12th or 13th player on the team sheet, 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.
And the 'Bash Boost' 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.
"We need innovation because people like change, but I think these (changes) will actually improve the game itself," said 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."
To provide an example of how a team might target the Bash Boost bonus point, Woodhill pointed to a match from BBL|09.
"Last year the Stars got 220-odd against the Sixers, and the chances of the Sixers chasing that down were slim," he explained. "They made a good fist of it and got 180-odd, but even though they only lost by 30 runs they were out of the game a long way before the 20th over.
"So with this rule change, (Sixers captain) Moises Henriques and (coach) Greg Shipperd might've decided to only chase the 10-over total – they might've been 9-101 after 10 and earned that one point, which at the back-end of a season can become pivotal.
"So it's interesting, they play off against each other: the X-factor sub might mean that some teams think they'll bat first, but then the Bash Boost point might tempt them to bat second and try to chase down that 10-over total.
"So they're all around that segmenting of matches to keep people invested across the whole 40 overs – not just in Powerplays or death overs."
Such decision-making, added Woodhill, will also hold leaders accountable, rather than a defeat simply being explained away to the apparent fickleness of the format.
"I think it'll breed leadership, and I like coaches under pressure," he added.
"We see in AFL at three-quarter time where the coach has to go out and give a speech to his team, there'll be conversations about that, broadcasters will speculate about what was potentially said, and in this way coaches will have more to do in the spotlight, and there'll be a greater spotlight on captains and their calls.
"Rather than saying afterwards, 'Oh, that's just T20 cricket' it will be, 'Why did you do what you did?'
"My big thing with T20 is we've got to continually analyse and push the game. There are a lot of analytics in sport and a lot of discussion around it, and I think this will continue to add to the colour and the fun of BBL, but now you'll have a deeper insight into why somebody has made the decision they have."