Cricket Australia will trial a new points system in the Bupa Sheffield Shield competition commencing with the 2014-15 season.
The trial is designed to promote an even contest between bat and ball and better reflect Test conditions.
CA Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard announced the two-year trial that will see teams receive bonus points for runs and wickets in the first innings as part of a plan to develop players for the style and conditions of Test cricket.
Team Performance Information Manager and former Tasmanian Tigers Head Coach Brian McFadyen led the points system review which involved analysis of domestic points structures worldwide and consultation with various stakeholders, including Australian Team Coach, Darren Lehmann.
As part of the trial, teams will no longer be awarded first innings points, but will instead have the ability to gain points for scoring well or for taking wickets in the first 100 overs – the period when matches are often setup. A point will also be provided to teams that have the ability to fight for a draw.
2015-16 Bupa Sheffield Shield points structure
Outright Points 6 - Winning outright remains most valued
Draw 1 - Teams rewarded if they can fight for a draw
1st Innings win 0 - 1st innings becomes about setting up the match and rewarding good play and positive captaincy
Bonus Batting 1st 100 overs – .01 for every run above 200 in the first 100 overs - Eg, 350 runs in the first 100 overs = 1.5 points. Batting Points are uncapped until 100 overs
Bonus Bowling 1st 100 overs – Maximum 1.5 (0.5 points for wickets 5,7,9) - 9 wickets in the first 100 overs = 1.5 points.
Lehmann said the changes will see the competition continue to evolve and improve the style of cricket played.
“From my point of view as a past state coach I think it’s a positive move and as Australian coach it’s great to see the players perform under pressure in the first innings and also the second innings. We’re going to have more results which is great for the game,” Lehmann said.
“We don’t want to tinker with the system too much; it’s just a little change. It’ll make attractive and aggressive cricket and you’ll see more results in Shield cricket which is great.”
Howard said the revised points system has been devised to support the consultation with curators to provide players with the best conditions to perform that match international standards.
“The Australian Team Performance Review asked us to look at ways to improve and that’s what we’re doing; we want to mirror the style international cricket is played and see results,” Howard said.
“We see these alterations to the points system as complementing the work we did with curators over the last 12 months to ensure there are fewer sporting wickets and an even contest between bat and ball.
“As recently as this month, the new National Selector highlighted a national issue with batting and therefore it is a necessity to continue to get the balance between bat and ball closer.
“Ultimately, we want our batsmen scoring plenty of runs and bowlers taking wickets with the game played in an entertaining and attacking style, but pushed to the limit.
“Some may ask why then we’re rewarding a drawn match now and that’s simply because we want teams being rewarded for showing some real fight when it’s needed on the last day, just like Test cricket.
“We are aware that bonus points and first innings points do not exist in Test cricket, therefore this is about the style of play in the first innings. Both teams can get points, not just one team in the first innings. The team that wins the game will be well rewarded.”