We don’t half get our knickers in a twist over rule changes in sport.
The Big Bash Cricket League in Australia has announced three fairly bold new ideas for this year’s tournament.
Teams will be able to name two substitutes; there will be additional points awarded for the team that scores more during the ‘Bash Boost’, which is the first ten overs of the game; and there is a ‘Power Surge’ which essentially gives the batting team the option on when to attack more.
All of these rule changes are designed to encourage more attacking and exciting play yet, the announcement was met with widespread criticism.
Ex-Australian cricketer Brad Hogg called it “ludicrous” and added “you can’t tinker with Twenty20 cricket like this”.
I am not a cricket aficionado, but I find this sort of reaction strange. It was the same reaction when The Hundred tournament in the UK announced some of its innovative and different rules.
I understand that many people don’t like change and cricket is a traditional game, but this hyper reaction to trying something new seems misplaced.
Sport is full of constant rules changes and almost always to encourage attacking play. Anyone for the ‘Back Pass Rule’?
It doesn’t mean that all these rules are ultimately successful but the ‘tinkering’ which some people seem to hate so much, is actually a natural evolution of each sport.
The NFL allow teams to submit rule changes at the end of every season, some of which are adopted. The changes are often made to enhance the attacking play of the game because league bosses are so aware that they need to create an exciting product on the field.
Believe it or not, one of those rules changes in 1906 was to legalise the forward pass in American football, hence the modern-day importance of the quarterback. It is hard to imagine the game without a Tom Brady.
It is becoming harder to be a defender in the NFL and I hear something similar about being a bowler in cricket.
Well, that will just mean that you will have fewer average defenders in the NFL and bowlers in short-form cricket. The best will stand out and be premium players in the market because it is such a tough job to do. I don’t see the issue with this.
Sports are under more pressure now to capture fans’ attention than ever before. The need to adapt and modernise is immediate for many sports as they have to produce something eye-catching.
Yes, traditionalists will want nothing to change but eventually they will grow old and you have to attract the younger fan to maintain and then grow your fanbase.
Not every rule change is wonderful, but let’s keep an open mind.