Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann believes the new X-Factor substitution rule introduced for this season's BBL will give teams more flexibility and should be more successful than the Supersub rule that was used briefly in ODIs.
The BBL announced three new rules for BBL10. The changes involve new Powerplay regulations, the ability to sub in a player at a specific stage of the game, and a point on offer for being ahead of the opposition at the halfway mark of the chase.
The X-factor substitution differs from the previous Supersub, which was used in 2005-2006 in ODI cricket. Under the Supersub rule, a 12th player was named prior to the toss and could be substituted at any point in the game.
The X-Factor rule features more flexibility but with a few strings attached. At the 10-over mark of the first innings, each team will have the chance to substitute one of their starting XI with either the 12th or 13th player who was on the nominated team sheet. However, the player being replaced can't yet have batted in the match or can't have bowled more than over.
"I think this one [will be more] successful because it is an immediate impact on the game and it can allow you to bring the games closer together I would think," Lehmann said.
"That's just me and my personal opinion. Instead of getting bowled out for 110-120, you should with the extra batter be able to make a decent score, 140 or 150, if you're in trouble. The same with the bowling, you get an extra bowling option if you've made a lot of runs. In essence, I think it will make the games closer.
"Fifteen years ago, I think we just ended up using an allrounder who could do a bit of both. I think it gives you a bit more flexibility."
Lehmann also added that teams could adjust if the pitch conditions fooled them by bringing in an extra spinner or paceman depending on the surface.
He said the toughest challenge will be telling the player he's been subbed out, something he admitted he would have hated as a player.
"Pre-heart attack I would have blown up, post-heart attack I would be pretty relaxed," Lehmann said. "It's going to be tough on the player. For me, I would have found that quite frustrating because you're expecting to play in front of a big crowd, hopefully, and you'd want to showcase your skills.
"So that's going to be really hard on the player. That's the hardest one, being subbed out. So we'll have to work through that."
The Power Surge is not dissimilar to the old five-over mid-innings Powerplay rule in ODI cricket. Teams can use a two-over Powerplay with just two-men outside the circle in the final 10 overs of the innings, with the initial Powerplay reduced to four overs. Lehmann was not concerned that the rule would go the same way as it did in ODI cricket, with teams just waiting as late as possible to use it.
"I think you'll leave it late if you can, but you won't leave it until [overs] 19 and 20," Lehmann said. "I think you'll take it at around the 15-16 [over mark].
"But again, I'm just not sure how that plays out. You might need to get ahead of the rate to get back into the game, so you might need to take it at 11."