The BBL and WBBL will finally have a Decision Review System in place for the coming season while the Bash Boost point and X-Factor have been scrapped with the Power Surge set to come into the WBBL for the first time.
Cricket Australia announced a raft of changes to the BBL and WBBL competitions on Thursday with an innings clock also to be introduced for the BBL only, with teams needing to bowl their 20 overs inside 79 minutes, minus some allowances, or else incur a penalty of only having four fielders outside the circle for the remainder of the innings.
The BBL had long hoped to bring DRS into the competition to bring it in line with the major T20 leagues around the world. But an attempt to introduce it last season was scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic with constant state border closures and scheduling changes preventing the necessary ball-tracking technology from being installed at the various venues around Australia.
The DRS rules will match those in place in most T20 competitions with teams given one unsuccessful review per innings and 15 seconds to review any decision. Reviews will be retained for a decision that remains ‘Umpire’s call’.
DRS will be in place for every BBL match this coming season but only in 24 of the 59 WBBL matches due to the broadcast arrangement. Only 24 WBBL matches will be produced by the host broadcaster Channel Seven with the rest of the matches being streamed online and simulcast on Foxtel. The streamed matches will not have the necessary technology available and will be played without DRS. CA released a statement saying “the League will continue to strive towards greater DRS coverage for future WBBL seasons” with the hope that the next broadcast deal, likely to be in effect in 2024-25 will mean that all WBBL matches will be televised and have DRS.
The WBBL will feature the Power Surge for the first time in competition history, with the traditional six-over powerplay to be reduced to four overs with a two-over surge introduced. The surge will be called by the batting team in the final 10 overs of the innings with just two fielders outside the circle for those two overs. The surge has been a popular introduction to the BBL in recent seasons and CA has decided to add the innovation to the WBBL despite it not being part of international cricket.
The Bash Boost and the X-Factor were not as popular innovations and CA has decided to scrap both rules after listening to feedback from teams and fans.
Teams will now return to naming a standard playing XI, with only substitute fielders and concussion substitutes available as per normal, while competition points will revert to two for a win, one for a tie or abandoned match and zero for a loss.
Big Bash Leagues General Manager Alistair Dobson was pleased that DRS could finally be introduced to the BBL and WBBL.
“The League is delighted to introduce DRS to every KFC BBL game and the 24 simulcast Weber WBBL games, in line with the very best cricket competitions in the world,” Dobson said.
“Implementing DRS has been a challenging task for the BBL, which is the most logistically complex T20 league in the world. That, plus the impact of the pandemic on travel and movement, have meant the technology has not been possible to introduce until this season.
“Additionally, the League is pleased with the outcomes of the wider Playing Conditions review process, with the introduction of the Power Surge to WBBL and the BBL innings clock both major wins for fans.
“We retain a clear desire to innovate and drive our Leagues forward but are also willing to review decisions that have not realised the intended positive impact, such as the Bash Boost point and X-Factor substitution.”
The WBBL gets underway on October 13 while the BBL will commence on December 13.