While the Big Bash League's new rules may seem outlandish, it is important to see them play out rather than having an inherent prejudice against them.
Since it’s inception, the Big Bash League, Australia's premier franchise T20 competition, has been a stupendous product thanks to its incredible production value and stellar cricketing action.
The BBL has always tried to push cricket forward with its innovative ideas and perhaps the most recognisable today are the LED bails and stumps that were first introduced in the league and have now become a common sight across the sport.
The league made even more headlines this past week after the Big Bash League's new rules for the upcoming season of the tournament were announced.
Here are BBL's new rules:
Entertainment levels 📈— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) November 15, 2020
“The Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost prioritise high scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match," - Head of BBL, Alistair Dobson #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/Nacna2XHw9
The cricket fraternity was in shambles following this announcement, with the majority calling it an unnecessary move to stand out, while others feel the changes are overkill.
Indian cricket pundit Harsha Bhogle too weighed his opinion on Big Bash's new rules, tweeting:
Bit perplexed by the changes to the @BBL. You add gimmicks if a product is in poor health. And once you start, two years later, you need more gimmicks. It is confusing to audiences. I am just back from a spectacularly successful @IPL and can confirm the format is in robust health— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 16, 2020
With many asking the question, "Why?”, the simple answer to that is, ” Why not?”
T20 franchise cricket is more entertainment than a show of skill unlike its international variant, so why not experiment to try and make it more intriguing with these Big Bash new rules?
The Power Surge rule is a tweak that will certainly be an intriguing watch, as teams will now use their best bowlers to bowl during those overs and move away from the monotony of 'two overs at the top and two at the back-end' that almost every team on the planet deploys for their ace with the ball.
The X-Factor rule will certainly bring in an element of surprise as teams that lose only a few wickets batting first can sub in an extra bowler for the second innings, increasing their chances of winning, or a bowling side can bring in a spinner or a pacer, based on a favourable matchup against a player in the opposition.
The Bash Boost rule will reward teams for batting well or a bowling side for defending well, regardless of the outcome at the end of the game.
All these rules certainly add an extra layer of strategizing and drawing up tactics that are bound to make a match more interesting. But things can go awry and maybe these rules will unnecessarily complicate a game. There is only one way to find out and that is by allowing these scenarios to play themselves out next season.
Either way, there are pros and cons to these rule changes but nothing guarantees that this will hurt the game in any way, so why not give them a shot? The best-case scenario is that these new rules make games more exciting and the worst case is that they fail to do that and the BBL will end having to scrap it for the season that follows.
However, it is important that the cricket fraternity keep an open mind instead of berating these rule changes simply because they change the game as we know it.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @BBL