Queensland captain Usman Khawaja says his team has been robbed a deserved advantage in the Sheffield Shield final by the “silly” bonus points rule which will be in play at Allan Border Field.
The the Bulls will host the decider, which starts on Thursday, courtesy of finishing on top of the ladder but the controversial bonus point rule has ensured a draw may not be enough to secure the Shield crown.
Khawaja said the Bulls weren’t being rewarded for the effort to finish first, a position which was achieved via having just a single loss during the season, and despite only having the third most bonus points behind Tasmania and WA.
“The advantage has gone for the team that comes first,” the Queensland captain said.
“We work hard all year to come first. There should be slightly more of an advantage.
“The team that gets more bonus points in the first innings can potentially win the game, which is a bit silly in my books.
“I love the Shield final. I think it should be there but I think the team that comes first should have that little bit of an advantage.
“A team could come first by 15 points. They’re clearly the best team in the competition. They should have a massive advantage.
“It’s not like a BBL tournament where you play one day at a time. It’s four days at a time. It takes a lot to win a red-ball game. It takes a lot to get there.”
The system was trialled in the 2018-19 season but didn’t affect the final, which was won outright by Victoria over NSW.
Last season there was no final played due to COVID-19, but the “bonus point” returned this season, was used in every match, and will again be used in the final.
Under the system, the batting side earns 0.01 points for every run scored above 200 in the first 100 overs of the first innings, while the bowling side earns 0.1 points for every wicket taken in the same period.
Not surprisingly, NSW captain Kurtis Patterson was a fan of the “bonus point” rule.
“I don’t mind it, personally,” Patterson said.
“They earned the right to play at their home ground, so that certainly helps. They’ve probably played a lot more cricket here than we have.
“From a fans’ point of view, there’s probably been a few dull Shield finals were the home team has batted for days on end. That’s probably not the most exciting product to see.
“This makes both teams play positive cricket like if does for the entire year with the way the system is.”
However, both Khawaja and Patterson were confident that with the match being a five-day contest, it would not finish in a draw.
“Chances are we’ll get a result in five days,” Patterson said.
A five-day contest also increases the prospects of Australia’s best two spinners – NSW off-spinner Nathan Lyon and Queensland leg-spinner Mitch Swepson – having a significant say in the final’s outcome.
“It’s great to see that they’re both playing in the final,” Patterson said.
“Nathan’s been amazing for us, and he’s been amazing for pretty much is whole career.
“The way that Mitch has improved over the last 18 to 24 months has been a real testament to him.”