The BBL and WBBL will finally have a decision rating system for the upcoming season, while the Bash Boost point and X-Factor have been scrapped with the Power Surge set to get into the WBBL for the first time.
Cricket Australia Thursday announced a series of changes to the BBL and WBBL leagues with an innings clock that would also be introduced only for the BBL. The teams will have to bowl their 20 overs within 79 minutes, minus some fees, or else be penalized by only four outfielders outside the circle for the remainder of the innings.
The BBL had long hoped for DRS in the league to bring it in line with the major T20 leagues around the world. But an attempt to introduce last season was thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with constant border closures and schedule changes preventing the necessary ball-tracking technology to be installed at the various sites across Australia.
Under DRS rules, the teams are given one fail rating per inning and 15 seconds to review a decision. Ratings are kept for a decision that remains ‘Umpire’s call’.
DRS will be present for every BBL game next season, but only in 24 of the 59 WBBL games due to the broadcast arrangement. Only 24 WBBL matches are produced by the host channel Channel Seven, while the rest of the matches are streamed online and simulcast on Foxtel. The streamed matches do not have the necessary technology and are played without DRS. CA has issued a statement saying that “the league will continue to push for greater DRS coverage for future WBBL seasons,” in hopes that the next broadcast deal, likely to be in effect in 2024-25, will mean that all WBBL games will be televised and will be broadcast. DRS.
The WBBL will feature the Power Surge for the first time in league history, reducing the traditional power play from six overs to four overs with an introduction of two peaks. The wave is called by the batting team in the last ten overs of the innings with only two fielders outside the circle for those two overs. Golf has been a popular introduction to the BBL in recent seasons and CA has decided to add the innovation to the WBBL, despite not being part of international cricket.
The Bash Boost and the X-Factor were not-so-popular innovations, and CA decided to scrap both after listening to feedback from teams and fans.
Teams will now return to naming a standard playing XI, with only field substitutes and concussion substitutes as normal, while league points will return to two for a win, one for a draw or no result and zero for a loss.
Big Bash Leagues General Manager Alistair Dobson was delighted that DRS could finally be introduced to the BBL and WBBL.
“The league is excited to introduce DRS to every BBL game and the 24 simultaneous Weber WBBL games, in line with the very best cricket leagues in the world,” said Dobson. “The implementation of DRS has been a challenging task for the BBL, the most logistically complex T20 competition in the world. That, plus the impact of the pandemic on travel and traffic, has meant that the technology could only be introduced this season.
In addition, the league is pleased with the results of the broader playing conditions assessment process, with the introduction of the Power Surge on WBBL and the BBL innings both clocking big wins for fans.
“We maintain a clear desire to innovate and advance our leagues, but are also willing to revisit decisions that have failed to achieve their intended positive impact, such as the Bash Boost point and X-Factor substitution.”
The WBBL kicks off on October 13, while the BBL kicks off on December 13.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo