Bonus points set to return to Sheffield Shield

"We are having a look at our points system to understand whether it is creating incentives that end up in the wrong place"

“We are having a look at our points system to understand whether it is creating incentives that end up in the wrong place”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Cricket Australia are set to announce the return of bonus points during the next Sheffield Shield season as early as next week.

Bonus points will be awarded for runs and wickets during the first 100 overs in the first innings.

The board are also considering making changes to the pitches used during Sheffield Shield matches after they instructed state associations to prepare drier pitches during last year’s Sheffield Shield in an attempt to see a fairer contest between bat and ball.

However, the move backfired as the average duration of Sheffield Shield matches increased from 289 to 338 overs. The drier pitches also resulted in spinners bowling more than a 1,000 extra overs and subsequently taking more than 100 extra wickets in comparison to the 2012-13 season.

Batsmen also benefited from the drier pitches as the number of centuries made rose by 20 per cent.

“There is a question mark we have in our own mind as to whether the incentives are in the right place to deliver the best pitches,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said. “If we have a points system that is heavily loaded to an outright result, then people may well roll the dice on a less prepared wicket. If you have a look at a lot of other places around the world, their domestic four-day competition has a different points system, where there are bonus points.

“We will have a look closely to see how the pitches play out and what happens in Test cricket, but we are having a look at our points system to understand whether it is creating incentives that end up in the wrong place. Shield cricket is the best place to prepare players for Test cricket. Therefore it follows that we should play on pitches that are as much akin to Test cricket as possible.”

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