Scorchers defend X-Factor call as captains learn on the run
BBL captains and coaches say they're still adjusting to the competition's three new rules and how to best utilise them
13 December 2020, 08:11 AM AEST
The Perth Scorchers say they wouldn't have called for a batting substitute during their collapse against the Melbourne Renegades even if they had one available, with Big Bash captains and coaches saying they're still adjusting to the new rules introduced for this KFC BBL this season.
The opening handful of matches has given fans and players their first look at the new rules that were introduced for BBL|10; the 'X-Factor' substitute player, the 'Power Surge' of fielding restrictions and the 'Bash Boost', which is essentially a bonus point for the team that is in front at the halfway mark of the second innings.
While the Hobart Hurricanes used the Power Surge to their advantage in the season opener on Thursday night and the Sydney Sixers picked up a Bash Boost point despite losing the game, the X-Factor player is yet to be called on after four matches.
The X-Factor is one of two players that must be nominated before the match who can be substituted into the game at the 10-over mark of the first innings, which gives teams a chance to redress the balance of the XI they've named at the toss.
The Scorchers' horror batting collapse against the Renegades on Saturday, where they lost five wickets inside the opening nine overs, created a scenario where they could have replaced a bowler in their side with an extra batter to rescue their spluttering innings.
But the fact the Scorchers had named bowlers Joel Paris and Corey Roccicioli as their X-Factor options instead of choosing one bowler and a batter like Sam Whiteman or Kurtis Patterson – who were left out of their squad of 13 completely – meant the option to boost their batting after the early collapse wasn't available to them.
Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner conceded he and his team were still adjusting to the rule changes and learning how they can best be used to their advantage.
"I think there's some great new initiatives in the game and I think we're still getting our head around it and trying to figure out a way we can best utilise the rule changes," he said.
"I think we're going to see the rules used differently as the tournament goes on and as with any new rule change, it's going to take the captains and coaches a bit of time to adjust and find a way it can work for their side."
Scorchers coach Adam Voges said a fear of depleting his bowling stocks meant he would have been reluctant to sub in a batter even if he'd made one available through his X-Factor selections.
"I don't think so, I think we've got a well-balanced team and if we add a batter now, you lose a bowling option," he told the Seven Network during the innings.
"I think we're all still learning on the run at the moment."
The Scorchers used six bowlers in the run chase and had Kiwi part-timer Colin Munro in reserve, meaning they theoretically could have covered the loss of a frontline bowler had they rolled the dice on a batting substitution.
Melbourne Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell, regarded as one of the sharpest tactical minds in the competition, said watching how other teams were adjusting to the new rules had been a learning experience for him and his team.
"I was certainly glad we were able to watch a game first (on the Thursday night)," Maxwell said after his side surged to the top of the standings following a second straight win.
"I was messaging 'Huss' (coach David Hussey) all the way through it and after the game I thought I knew how I wanted to set up our team through it.
"So being able to watch other teams go about it and see them either do it well or see them make mistakes, you're able to set it up."
Sydney Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson defended his side's approach to their run chase against the Stars on Saturday, where they began cautiously and looked to keep wickets in hand, which effectively meant they conceded the chance to claim the Bash Boost point after 10 overs.
He agreed the ways teams use the new rules is likely to change as the tournament progresses.
"It's certainly given the captains a bit more to think about and it adds a dimension," he said.
"You've got to try and make sure you've got enough overs of your best death (bowlers) up your sleeve for when they take the Surge at the back end of an innings so it perhaps does change the way you would have used your bowlers in the past.
"I think it's going to evolve as well and we'll see trends start to pop up, but I think at this stage everyone is feeling it out a little bit and seeing what works for them."