Big Bash League 2020: Australian cricketers Shane Watson (now retired) and Usman Khawaja have questioned the new rules introduced by the Big Bash League (BBL). Both have claimed that the new rules can be quite confusing, and that officials are still not understanding the audience.
On Monday, the BBL brought in three new rules in an attempt to spark the competition. Specifically, the league has introduced the “Power Surge”, “X-Factor” and “Bash Boost”, which Trent Woodhill, the BBL’s consultant, believes will force the “players to have to think on their feet a little bit”.
In addition, the tournament has been struggling a little in recent seasons, with mostly-empty stadiums ringing alarm bells for Cricket Australia officials. This, along with the likely absence of many Australian stars, has prompted these rule changes to try and increase the appeal of the tournament.
However, Khawaja is sceptical about the new rules, making the argument that cricket is already a complicated game for the newcomer and that we shouldn’t complicate it further.
“So had a day to think about new BBL rules. My biggest issue is that the BBL is all about (and great at) getting new people involved whom have never played,” tweeted Khawaja on his official Twitter account. “But the rule changes complicate what’s already a very complicated game (for newcomers). Shouldn’t we be going the other way around?”
Shane Watson, who recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, was passionate in his view about the rule changes. “Why, Oh Why!”, wrote Watson in an online piece.
“I read today that the BBL is introducing these new gimmicks, such as the ‘Power Surge’, the ‘X Factor Player’ and the ‘Bash Boost’ in a misguided attempt to re-invigorate the tournament. I just can’t seem to get my head around why there are people out there who are trying to re-invent the wheel when the wheel was not broken. It just had hit a little rocky ground, in which some really simple measures that were already put in place, would create a slipstream back to the very top again.”
Like Khawaja, Watson also made note of the impact this will have on the viewers. “The complexities that these new ‘Science Experiments’ are going to create for the viewers, let alone the players and coaches, when none of these have been tried and tested at lower levels, have really taken the wind out of my sails,” wrote Watson.
The immediate reaction to CA’s decisions will have officials hoping that they work well for the upcoming season. If not, it will be another problem for the Big Bash to handle, which is a far cry from the raging success it was a few years ago, before it turned into a full home-and-away season that many believe is too long.