Cricket Australia have formally agreed a new split-innings format for their domestic one-day competition, with a number of interesting details given board approval today.
The possibility of moving from a traditional 50-over competition to an innovative model that would see both sides bat twice in a day was trailed earlier this year and has now been given the nod by CA.
The new format will see each side bat for 45 overs, split into innings of 20 and 25, while another new element will see 12 players available for both sides, with 11 batting and 11 fielding.
Each bowler will be allowed a maximum of 12 overs across the two innings and instead of optional powerplays, there will be mandatory restrictions for the first five overs of each innings.
The related scoring system for the competition will see one point awarded for the first-innings lead and four more for victory in the match.
The scale of the modifications once again shows Australia's eagerness to lead the way in advancing the game and reinvigorating ODI cricket, a format whose thunder has been stolen by the Twenty20 surge.
They are, though, unlikely to be met with universal approval.
There is consternation among some state players that altering the method of one-day cricket in Australia before next year's World Cup is a counter-productive step, while reports from a split-innings trial among English county second XIs this summer were mixed at best.
Nevertheless, Cricket Australia remain convinced they have taken a bold - and necessary - step.
"We have listened to the public, undertaken comprehensive consultation across Australian cricket and developed a format which we now want to test thoroughly this summer," said chief executive James Sutherland.
"The public told us to act and we have. The fans told us, through formal research, that they like all three formats, there is a place for three cricket formats, they like ODI cricket best, but they want to see it refreshed and they want to see it with a short-form identity that is distinctively different from fast-emerging T20 cricket.
"Interpreting the data, fans see Test cricket as the formal, long-form strategic game; they see T20 as a bite-sized piece of cricket entertainment and they think ODI cricket sits in the middle as, in a sense, a strategically-based, one-day Test match."
Sutherland acknowledged that the steps would not meet with wholesale backing but remains confident that the decision to test a new type of limited-overs game is a sound one.
"Cricket does not always like change and I confidently predict plenty of public discussion over summer," he admitted.
"But we clearly need to do something to refresh the world's most popular format, we have listened to the public, consulted throughout cricket and now want to give this format a thorough trial to test it out before longer term assessment about whether this might become an international format."Reuse content