Big Bash considers radical change to timed out law
In the latest proposed measure to speed the game up, Big Bash umpires could be tasked with keeping a close eye on the clock to ensure new batters are prompt to the wicket
7 October 2021, 04:30 PM AEST
New batters could be dismissed if they aren't ready to face up inside 75 seconds of a wicket falling as part of a proposed crackdown on slow play this summer in the Big Bash.
Cricket.com.au understands that under the proposal, umpires will be instructed to clamp down on time wasting following dismissals after some new batters took more than two minutes to be ready last summer.
While last season's playing conditions allowed just 60 seconds for a new batter to be ready, the rule was not enforced by match officials.
Under the proposal for this summer, the time following a dismissal will be extended to 75 seconds but umpires will be told to police it diligently.
New batters are allowed three minutes to get to the crease in international cricket under Law 40 (Timed Out), but the use of dug outs has seen that time shortened in playing conditions for most T20 leagues.
In another proposed tweak to the traditional Timed Out law, batters would not be sent packing immediately if they are not ready in time. Instead, they will have to stand aside and the bowler will be allowed to have a free delivery at the stumps. If the bowler misses, the batter can start their innings.
The proposed change is not intended to catch out sluggish batters, but rather to encourage faster play after match times ballooned to well beyond three hours in recent years.
Given the harsh penalties of the proposed crackdown, it's not expected any batters will fall afoul of the new rule.
The proposed change, which will be presented to players this weekend, would apply for both the KFC BBL and the Weber WBBL.
Officials would give regular time updates to warn new batters if they are in danger of going over time, and a countdown clock may also be displayed on the big screen.
A batter is deemed 'ready' when they face up to the bowler, leaving little time to make their way to the middle and mark centre. However, officials will also be instructed to use their discretion and allow leeway where it's deemed necessary.
Another proposal on the table is a restriction on how often batters can be given drinks and fresh gloves at the end of an over, with this to be allowed only at the end of the fifth, 10th and 15th overs.
Other time-saving measures, such as bowling two overs from the same end or forcing bowling teams to bring an extra fielder inside the inner circle if they fall behind the over rate, are not on the table for this season.
Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia's General Manager of Big Bash Leagues, didn't confirm specifics of the crackdown but said the league is conscious of speeding up play.
"We know Big Bash fans want to watch fast-paced, exciting cricket on TV and in the stadium," he said.
"We have spent the off season looking at ways to keep the game moving and are close to finalising what this might look like."
The Playing Conditions for both the men's and women's Big Bash leagues will be confirmed shortly, including an update on the proposed introduction of the Decision Review System.
England's Hundred competition was widely praised this year for shorter match times, which makes matches more family-friendly for both those in attendance and watching at home.
Star Adelaide Strikers spinner Rashid Khan told cricket.com.au in August that allowing players to bowl consecutive six-ball overs from the same end in T20 cricket, which could eliminate up to 20 change of ends per game, is an obvious way to reduce the duration of matches.
The league also took note of a rule used in the Hundred and England's T20 Blast competition, where an extra fielder must be brought inside the circle for every ball the 20-over innings goes beyond an hour and 15 minutes.
However, neither rule will be used in the Big Bash this summer.
"There's a whole range of levers you can pull, whether it's penalties like that or incentives the other way," Dobson told cricket.com.au in July of England's rule.
"I think that's a really creative way and if it can be officiated effectively and everyone goes in knowing what the rules are, I think that's an interesting way to go about it.
"We're really mindful of the length of games. Our data shows they've started to lengthen more than we'd probably like in the last couple of years and that's something we're looking at closely in terms of what options we've got."