Bonus points and substitutes to bring in X-factor players new rules for this year’s Big Bash

Baseball has the pinch-hitter rule and now the Big Bash has introduced the “X-factor” substitute as one of three innovations officials hope can boost run-scoring power in this year’s tournament.

This season is the 10th for the BBL, and T20 guru Trent Woodhill, who has long advocated pushing the boundaries with new rules, helped usher in the changes.

The move comes with Cricket Australia stuck in a legal battle with broadcaster Channel 7 over the quality of this year’s competition.

Several Australian stars, including Steve Smith and David Warner, have already said they won’t play because of the long international season, while the availability of the best overseas players has been impacted by both COVID-19 restrictions and other international cricket.

The changes include the capacity for a batting to team have more control of its innings via the “power surge”, a two-over stretch where they can open up the field any time after the 11th over to help produce high scores.

Teams will also have the ability to change strategy at the 10-over mark of the first innings and substitute in an X-factor player. This player, named as either the 12th or 13th player on the team sheet, can replace any player who is yet to bat or has bowled no more than one over.

“The best T20 leagues across the globe are the ones that continue to innovate, push the boundaries and challenge the status quo. The introduction of these new playing conditions firmly puts the Big Bash League in that category,” Woodhill said.

“There’s now more emphasis on the role of the coach, more for our fans to look forward to and more for our broadcasters to speak to during each BBL game.

“Despite the challenges of this winter, we’ve got more star overseas players coming to the KFC BBL than ever before and now an ambitious set of innovations to shake up the league. I can’t wait to see our players and coaches embrace these new concepts.”

The new conditions will also include bonus points awarded halfway through the second innings.

The team chasing will receive the “Bash boost” if they’re above the equivalent 10-over score of their opposition. If they’re trailing, the fielding side will receive the point.

Entertainment levels 📈

“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

“The introduction of these new innovations is yet another reason why the KFC BBL|10 season is set up to be the most exciting in the league’s history,” Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson said.

“The power surge, X-factor and Bash boost prioritise scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match.

“We’re confident our fans will love what these innovations bring to the game as many of the world’s top T20 players, plus our next generation of Australian stars, bring them to life on field.”

A full schedule has been released for the upcoming season, with venues for the 21 matches to be played in December confirmed.

The season will begin in Tasmania and the ACT with the first match on December 10. Matches then move to Queensland and South Australia later in the month.

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