The videogamification of short format cricket continues with the announcement of a series of BOOSTS and POWER SURGES in the Big Bash League. (Why don’t they ever use genuinely entertaining videogame mods, like Sensible Soccer’s reduced gravity or Goldeneye’s giant heads mode?)
The new rules are predictably puzzling and – as is always the case with this kind of tinkering – probably more likely to make games less exciting.
We can see only one positive, which we’ll get to in a moment. Let’s look at the other rules first.
Let’s start with Power Surge.
What strikes us here is the branding. Aren’t power surges bad?
The notion that ‘more = better’ seems to us to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the world held by all cricket administrators.
More matches = fewer fast bowlers
More power = broken devices
A power surge broke our oven clock a few weeks back. This led to the discovery that the oven clock is apparently a vital component for the working of the oven itself. It seems that if you can’t set the clock, you can’t set the timer and if you can’t set the timer, you can’t switch the oven on – even if you’re not using the timer. (And honestly, who uses an oven timer anyway?)
So that’s that dealt with. Moving swiftly on to Bash Boost, which is the one we don’t really have anything to say about.
So for some reason you get a point for being sort of vaguely on track runs-wise halfway through an innings, regardless of how many wickets you’ve lost.
Now for the X-Factor, the one that is not in any way good, but which has a credible ‘good’ angle if you think long and hard enough about it.
Remember cricket’s old definition of the term ‘X-factor’?
Cricket used to think that an ‘X-factor cricketer’ meant ‘a really good cricketer who is almost certainly either a fast bowler or a wrist spinner, or maybe a fast-scoring batsman at a push.’
Cricket now thinks that an X-factor cricketer is ‘a cricketer who isn’t good enough to get into the first XI and maybe not even good enough to be 12th man’.
Now here’s the good part. It’s a two-stage thing.
Stage 1 is that the term will become a new, kind way to leave someone out of a team. When a child hasn’t made the cut because they are terrible at cricket, they will be told, “you’re an X-factor cricketer”.
These youngsters will be happy with this way of doing things for about five minutes until all the other kids impose their own new definition of ‘X-factor cricketer’, which will be ‘person who is shit at things’.
And then we’re at Stage 2, which will be a time when professional cricket stops using the term ‘X-factor’.