The inclusion of so-called X-factor substitute players are among three rule changes for the 10th edition of Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League.
Teams will be allowed to use one X-factor player after the 10th over of the game to replace a batter or, for the fielding team, a bowler who has bowled no more than one over.
Under the traditional cricket rules, substitute players can field but aren’t allowed to bat or bowl.
The other two changes allow for a power surge — a two-over power play for the batting team at any stage of the second half of an innings, when only two players will be allowed in fielding positions outside the inner-ring. To accommodate that power surge, the power play to start each innings will be reduced from six to four overs.
The other rule change involves a bonus competition point, to be called a ‘bash boost,’ being awarded halfway through the second innings to the team with the best 10-over score.
“The …(changes) prioritize scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match,” Cricket Australia’s head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said in a statement on Monday. “We’re confident our fans will love what these innovations bring to the game.”
The BBL is set to start Dec. 10.
Trent Woodhill, the BBL’s player acquisition and cricket consultant, said the best T20 leagues in the world are the ones that “innovate, push the boundaries and challenge the status quo.”
“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,” Woodhill said.