West Indies and Sydney Sixers allrounder Carlos Brathwaite has cautioned against the Caribbean Premier League introducing the Power Surge into this year's tournament for fear it might jeopardise players preparation for the T20 World Cup in India.
Speaking ahead of the BBL final at the SCG on Saturday, Brathwaite has liked the innovation that was introduced in the BBL this season as part of three new rule changes.
Leagues around the world are looking at the success of the Power Surge in the BBL with a view to possibly introducing it elsewhere.
Whilst Brathwaite is not against the Surge coming into the CPL altogether, he said the timing of such a move was important as it would not be ideal for middle-order batsmen ahead of the T20 World Cup in India where there will be no Power Surge in play.
"It's a nice innovation for the tournament," Brathwaite said. "However, with the World Cup being around the corner, it also can give a false pretence of where a guy is at. If he gets a massive spark in the Surge and then you see him with a strike-rate of 170, 180, 200.
"If you're going to the World Cup and there's no Surge in the World Cup then all of a sudden it can be a bit of a false dawn. So, I don't know if this year in the lead up to a World Cup would be the best for it. I think it's something that the Big Bash will keep because they've been gaining rave reviews from pundits, journalists, and players. So, in a few years, if it's the thing, yeah, why not. I just think it's a matter of timing."
Brathwaite has bowled four Power Surge overs across the tournament picking up two wickets at an economy rate of 12.00. Of the 23 bowlers in the BBL who have bowled four or more overs in the Surge, he is ranked 19th for economy rate in the Surge overs.
"The challenge is a big one for sure," Brathwaite said. "It's about clarity. You're expected to get met in the Surge. Teams target around 15 runs per over in the Surge overs, so if you can restrict teams to 7, 8, 10 runs, I guess you're winning.
"I guess on reflection, one thing I'd like to have done is to have picked up a few more wickets. I've gone quite defensive, around the wicket, into the heels and just trying to mix it from there, whereas you watch other guys in the tournament go a bit more attacking and basically have the same fields that they would have in the first Powerplay and try to break the back of the batting because players are taking a lot more risk in the Surge as well. So on personal reflection that's one thing I could potentially have done a bit better."
Surge numbers aside, Brathwaite has been an outstanding contributor with the ball for the Sixers throughout the tournament. He has taken 16 wickets at an economy rate of 7.84. Of the 17 bowlers in the BBL who have taken 15 wickets or more, only six have a better economy rate.
"I think the pitches probably suit my bowling a lot more than most places around the world," Brathwaite said. "I'm able to run in and hit good lengths. Kind of that four-day length. For me personally, one of my cues is hitting the top of off stump. From place to place that I go I would always be talking to one of the local players just to get an idea of what length hits the top of off stump.
"My powerplay bowling probably hasn't been the best in the first four, but that being said, coming back in the Surge or at the death, or coming in those middle overs with five men out and trying to control the run-rate, I think I've been executing quite well and keeping things quite simple and not thinking too much or getting funky with my fields, just being really clear and executing as well as I possibly can."
Brathwaite has struggled with the bat though scoring just 45 runs in 10 innings with a highest score of 21, but remains hopeful he can deliver if needed in Saturday's final.
"I forgot my runs in Barbados apparently," Brathwaite said. "So hopefully if needed with the bat, I can come to the forefront as I haven't done for the season. So that has been a bit disappointing. But overall, I do think I've helped the team with the ball massively, in the field, and off the field gelled quite well as well. All positives bar the bat."
He is excited to play again at the SCG for the first time this season, a venue where he made his highest Test score.
The ground will have a 75 percent capacity for the BBL final meaning more than 28,000 will be allowed to attend.
"I'm looking forward to playing at the SCG," Brathwaite said. "I probably played one of my best Test knocks there. Having been deprived of that and now being able to represent the team in front of our fans at the SCG it may be a bit more of an occasion than just a Grand Final.
"So once we control our emotions and continue to execute, the other guys have played enough cricket at the SCG to know and understand and assess the conditions quickly and then implement the game plan that has worked over the last few years if the conditions are the same."
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne