Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) on Thursday confirmed the long-awaited introduction of the Decision Review System (DRS) for both the men’s and women’s competitions for the 2022-23 season, said a report by BBL side Melbourne Renegades.
In a series of firsts in the BBL this year, which also saw the introduction of the Players’ Draft ahead of the start of the season next month, Cricket Australia (CA) will be introducing the DRS, which was on hold last year due of the pandemic situation, border closure issues and logistic problems.
“After international and state border closures scuppered plans to introduce the technology last summer, the league today announced the system will be implemented in all BBL-12 matches and the WBBL-8 matches shown on both Seven and Foxtel, including finals,” said the Renegades website.
The remaining 35 matches WBBL-8 matches, to be broadcast on Foxtel and cricket.com.au, will be produced via live stream technology which does not currently support DRS.
Big Bash officials said the league would continue to strive towards greater DRS coverage for future WBBL seasons.
“The absence of review technology, which had been used in other major domestic T20 competitions like the Indian Premier League and the Hundred as well as leagues in Pakistan, the Caribbean and Bangladesh, had become a major talking point over the past few seasons with its introduction no doubt welcomed by players and match officials alike,” said the report.
“Logistical challenges unique to the Big Bash, such as multiple games played on the same day at different venues, the significant travel involved across the country and that broadcasters ‘Seven’ and ‘Foxtel’ use different technology providers, had meant it was difficult to implement the technology during the pandemic, but league boss Alistair Dobson is confident those hurdles had been solved,” the report added.
“The league is delighted to introduce DRS… in line with the very best cricket competitions in the world,” said Dobson. “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.”
Each team will get one unsuccessful review per innings with the fielding team captain or batter receiving 15 seconds to call for a review. As per standard practice, the reviewing team will keep their one unsuccessful review if the decision results in ‘Umpire’s Call’.
Ultra Edge, commonly referred to a Snicko, and ball-tracking will be the review technology available to the TV match official. Additional playing condition changes for this season include the Power Surge innovation being extended to the WBBL, while the Bash Boost point and X-Factor substitution have been scrapped after two seasons.
Teams will now revert to naming a standard playing XI, a 12th player and substitute fielders, while competition points will revert to two for a win, one for a tie or abandoned match and zero for a loss.
BBL-12 will also see the introduction of an innings clock with the fielding team required to commence the last over inside 79 minutes (plus allowances) otherwise they will be limited to four fielders instead of five outside the field restriction circle for the remainder of the innings. The innings clock will not be implemented in WBBL-8, the report added.
Dobson said the introduction of the Power Surge to WBBL and the BBL innings clock were “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,” he said.
Newly elevated Cricket Australia international panel umpire Phil Gillespie told cricket.com.au in May that umpiring with DRS is what they all wanted. “I think it’s a lot easier for umpires when there’s DRS in the game because you can move on from that error quickly when it’s been overturned or resolved,” he said.
The WBBL season opener between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers in Mackay October 13 will be the first Big Bash match to have DRS available, added the report.