Cricket chiefs are hoping this summer will see an even Bigger Bash but fans are pessimistic a suite of rule changes will improve Australia’s domestic T20 competition.
This season’s BBL will see the introduction of the Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost as organisers hope to bolster interest in a competition that has struggled with declining interest in recent years.
The ONLY place to watch every single match of India’s Tour of Australia is on Fox Cricket, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
While many have called for the season to be shorter and to attract more big-name international stars, Cricket Australia has stood its ground and instead implemented several innovations to win back fans.
You can read all about the specifics of the rule changes here. In essence they involve a re-jigging of the initial six-over powerplay, the ability to substitute a player mid-game and the introduction of a bonus point midway through the second innings whereby the team that has the most runs after 10 overs gets rewarded.
But even without seeing the new regulations in action, cricket lovers are gearing up for a summer of discontent.
Former Test star Ed Cowan was among the critics, giving the new rules a thumbs down.
“To believe in the success of the BBL you need to believe great cricket is entertaining,” Cowan tweeted. “How about trying to secure the best players from around the world, playing on the best wickets, at times when people want to watch.
“New playing conditions without any trial at other levels is flirting with danger — will be many unforeseen and unintended consequences.
“I love innovation in cricket, but once decisions are founded in data it will make for a better contest.”
Channel 9 NRL commentator Matthew Thompson wrote: “Just what cricket needs … more gimmicks.
“Ridiculous. Which focus group came up this garbage? Here’s an idea. 11 players a team. 20 overs each. Most runs win?”
RELATED: BBL rule changes explained
Fellow Nine commentator Peter Psaltis was another to hit out.
“If this is because interest and crowd numbers are on the decline then they have to realise that had nothing to do with how the game is played!” he said on Twitter.
“Interest is falling away because of lack of star power and a calendar that makes the Big Bash drag on and on and on.
Cricket writer Matt Roller said he doesn’t believe the rule changes will have a massive impact on games, but they “obviously won’t solve the BBL’s issues either”.
New Zealand legend Scott Styris called the changes “ridiculous”, tweeting: “And the Big Bash continues its march backwards.”
Sports broadcaster Shane McInnes wrote: “Fans want two things from the Big Bash: Big names, shorter season.
“Instead they get new rules to further complicate what should be a simple game.
“And, as for ‘The X-Factor’ … What a ridiculous concept.”