Big Bash New Rules: Gimmick or Not?

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After the mega-success of IPL, cricket fans are gearing up for the BBL. Not only fans, the punters too are looking forward to the tournament with the expectation that like IPL, the BBL too will see many high scoring and close encounters, and they can make some big bucks on BBL betting. The matches are expected to be played across the country, as Cricket Australia expects the movement restrictions to ease in the coming weeks.

This year’s edition of BBL is expected to be different compared to the previous years, as Cricket Australia has introduced 3 new rules this time around. As soon as the rules were announced, the fans have divided into two camps. One section believes that the rules are mere gimmicks, while there is another side which believes that they are a meaningful addition to the game, and will dial up the excitement

What are the new rules?

The new rules relate to the power play, substitution, and awarding points. Let’s have a look at what they are all about

Power Surge

Somewhat similar to the ODIs, according to this rule, the Powerplay, which is traditionally the first 6 overs of each innings, has been split into 2 blocks. The first 4 overs are mandatory powerplay overs, while the remaining 2 overs can be used as a Power Surge by the batting team, at any stage after the first 10 overs.

The X-factor

Similar to mid-game substitution in football, the 12 th or the 13 th player on the team sheet can be brought into the game as a substitute after 10 overs of the first innings, provided that the player to be substituted has not yet batted, or bowled more than 1 over.

Bash Boost

This is a tweak in the points awarded to teams for each match. On winning a match, the team is awarded 3 points instead of the traditional 2. There is also a bonus point up for grabs at halfway of the second innings. If the chasing side has scored more runs than the side batting first at the 10 over mark, they are awarded a bonus point, while if they have scored fewer runs, the point goes to the fielding side.

What it means for the game

The new rules are bound to make the game a bit more complex for fans and the coaches. As these rules are being implemented directly on a big stage, with no precedent in smaller tournaments, it will take some getting used to.

The reactions so far, that have come from some of the past and current players, have been largely critical of the new rules. One of the most scathing attacks came from recently retired Shane Watson, who was hugely unimpressed by the changes. Calling them a `misguided attempt´ to `reinvigorate the tournament´. He also said that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it’s not broken.

Harsha Bhogle too was not impressed with the changes, saying that the recent success of the IPL has shown that the T20 format is in good health, and in no need of a change.

Keeping an open mind

While the consensus seems to be against the changes, it is important to take a step back and take a balanced view. Cricket Australia believes that the tweaks will bring a fresh wind of change to the format. It will add some extra strategizing, and force the captains and coaches to keep their thinking caps on throughout the game. Rather than dismissing the new rules, it would be prudent to give them a shot. If they do not work out, they can always be dropped for the next season. After all, even the ODIs and T20s were a departure from normal, and we have seen the positive impact it has had on the game.

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