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Australian T20 king Shane Watson is disappointed the BBL has resorted to ‘gimmicks’ for this season

Australian T20 legend Shane Watson has been left shaking his head at three new rules introduced to the Big Bash this season, labelling them “gimmicks” and “science experiments”.

Watson, who finished his stellar career at the conclusion of the recent Indian Premier League, said the “Power Surge”, the “X-Factor Player” and the ‘Bash Boost” were unnecessary changes that made the T20 game too complex.

The 39-year-old former Australian all-rounder made millions playing 343 T20s in competitions around the world and was a mainstay of the Sydney Thunder in the BBL until 2019.

His retirement was met with plaudits from some of the game’s greatest players, evidence of Watson’s standing.

Watson said the lure of the Big Bash was always the best players, and the new rule changes, introduced to help address a continued fall in TV ratings in recent seasons, were misguided.

“I read today that the BBL is introducing these new gimmicks, such as the ‘Power Surge’, the ‘X Factor Player’ and the ‘Bash Boost’ in a misguided attempt to reinvigorate the tournament,” Watson wrote in a blog post on his T20 stars website.

“I just can’t seem to get my head around why there are people out there who are trying to reinvent the wheel when the wheel was not broken.

“It just had hit a little rocky ground in which some really simple measures that were already put in place would create a slipstream back to the very top again.

“The complexities that these new ‘science experiments’ are going to create for the viewers, let alone the players and coaches, when none of these have been tried and tested at lower levels, have really taken the wind out of my sails.”

In this blog I write about my shock at the announcement yesterday of these new gimmicks for the upcoming season of @BBL
Things were really looking up but now I am worried. #t20stars https://t.co/pCuA18dvtp

Watson, who is also president of the Australian Cricketers Association, said the BBL was the second-best T20 competition in the world, only beaten by the IPL because of the quality of players available.

He said that should be the focus, getting the best talent, not changing the rules.

“The decision to allow three overseas players to play in every team to really strengthen up the quality of the cricket during the tournament and seeing the list of world class overseas players who are heading to our shores had been unbelievably exciting,” Watson said.

“The simple game plan in my mind is to get the world’s best cricketers playing on world class pitches and guess what, you will get world class cricket to watch for the cricket lovers out there and we will all be on the edge of our seats admiring the feats of these amazing cricketers.

“There is a saying that I do say a lot and it couldn’t be more truer than right now: ‘The simple things in life are often the best.’

“I truly hope that my concerns with these new gimmicks prove me totally wrong and that all of the things that have come together over the last six months will be a perfect storm to create the most engaging and exciting BBL in its history.”

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