After weeks of speculation, the Big Bash League’s three rule changes have finally been put under the microscope.
Cricket fans were given their first glimpse of the new innovations during the tournament opener between the Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena.
While the Powerplay had previously lasted six overs, the batting side is now able to choose when to enforce the final two overs of fielding restrictions.
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The destructive impact of the Power Surge was immediately apparent when Hurricanes called for the Powerplay in the 15th over of their innings.
Hobart plundered 19 runs from Steve O’Keefe’s expensive over, and could have managed more if not for a stellar piece of fielding from Sydney stalwart Jordan Silk.
“I like (the Power Surge),” Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw said. “I think it’s going to add great dimension to this competition.”
New Zealand cricketer Jimmy Neesham tweeted: “You should be able to use your power surge inside the powerplay. The fielding team’s allowed nobody out and has to have three slips.”
Although the Power Surge proved a success after one innings, the X-Factor still drew plenty of criticism.
Understandably, neither side opted to substitute a player from their starting XI at the 10-over mark in either innings.
“The game probably has to be significantly shifted one way or the other to go with a sub,” Hurricanes coach Adam Griffith explained on Channel 7’s coverage.
“It’s pretty evenly poised … so we stick with the cattle we’ve got in the eleven.”
Fans voiced their confusion on social media, questioning what would prompt a BBL team to swap out a player.
Lastly, the Bash Boost gives a competition point to the team which had the most runs at the 10-over mark.
The Hurricanes were 3/72 after 10 overs, while the Sixers were 1/85, meaning the men in pink received the Bash Boost.
Former Australian Test batsman Usman Khawaja conceded he was unconvinced by the rule changes, echoing earlier comments of Michael Clarke.
“One rule change coming into this BBL would’ve been perfect. Three is a lot,” Khawaja said on Wednesday.
“We’ve tried supersubs before, it hasn’t really worked. It’ll be interesting how that goes in terms of a spectator point of view.”
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Sydney Thunder captain Callum Ferguson also said he was initially “shocked” and “disappointed” when Cricket Australia announced a trio of innovations.
“If I am honest, I was pretty shocked they were looking to make big changes to the game,” Ferguson told news.com.au. “I’m a firm believer the T20 game is a great product as it is.
“I feel like we might have been looking to change the game a little bit on the back of some lopsided games, which were probably more a result of the wickets not being what they normally are in Australia.
“I felt shocked and a little bit disappointed initially. However, now that the changes have been made, our team will be embracing those changes.
“I am a very open-minded person when it comes to change, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they pan out over the season and see what effect they have on the game.
“Players are only ever looking for what’s best for the game, and no doubt the (administrators) are too, so we’ve all got to work together.”