The Big Bash League’s two major innovations have received a mixed review from Sydney Thunder captain Callum Ferguson. Tuesday’s season opener at the Gabba between the Thunder and Brisbane Heat was the first time the competition’s new tactical timeouts came into play.
Both teams used their timeouts at the first opportunity after seven overs in their batting innings. Many on social media derided the 90-second breaks, during which a player and coach can come on to the field to discuss strategy, as nothing more than an opportunity for host broadcaster Channel Seven to have an extra ad break during play.
Ferguson though believes they can be a valuable tool to regain control in a match, something his team did after losing three wickets early in their innings before recovering to post a defendable 6-172 off their 20 overs.
“We feel like it can be a real momentum shifter,” the veteran batsman said. “If things aren’t quite going how you’d like it, call it. If things are going really well, let’s just leave it for a bit. Certainly I feel like it’s something we can use to our advantage if used smart.”
Ferguson’s unbeaten 73 off 44 balls in the Thunder’s innings meant he also got the honour of being the first player to wear the golden cap as the competition’s leading run-scorer when his team took to the field later in the evening.
This year the players with the most runs and the most wickets in the tournament will wear the golden caps, a concept modelled after the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
With none of the Heat batsmen bettering his tally and the Thunder set to face the Melbourne Renegades on Thursday in Geelong, Ferguson admits he has probably got an early edge to retain the cap for a while.
Though that’s a scenario he would rather not see eventuate. “It’s not the prettiest hat,” he said. “Certainly not my colour but it might suit someone else. The sooner it comes off my head, the better I reckon. It doesn’t look great.”