BCA points system needs overhaul
THIS EVENING, the management of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) is scheduled to meet with the clubs to discuss issues regarding the upcoming season.
One of the areas likely to come under heavy review is the controversial points system, which has been in place over the last few seasons.
Players, officials, fans, and the media have bemoaned the points system in place for the championship over the last few years.
For the naysayers, the current points system is nothing magical, or new. It is borrowed from the English County Championship, where it has worked extremely well for years now.
Teams and players in England have also tried to “game” the system, like some in Barbados, and administrators there have also had to revise it to make it airtight.
So there is nothing inherently wrong with the system, except that the BCA has done a poor job of implementation.
To give a bit of background, the batting and bowling points system was introduced by English officials way back in 1968 to challenge teams to play more competitively and, indeed, attractively to fight for a win.
Back then, teams were given bonus points for their batting and bowling performances over the first 85 overs of each first innings. For batting, one point for each 25 runs above 150 scored, and for bowling, one point for every two wickets taken.
The English points system has undergone a series of reviews at the end of almost every season, so the BCA should not be too concerned that they have not settled on the right formula yet.
Following an ECB board meeting three Decembers ago, it was decided that effective from the start of the 2010 season, the points allocations would change.
Teams would receive 14 points for a win, and three points each for a draw plus batting and bowling points.
A maximum of five batting points and three bowling points were to be available during each side’s first innings would also be awarded, but the threshold for achieving them was reduced to 110 overs from 120 overs two years ago.
This now brings us to the present, and with this understanding, the BCA should consider revising the current points system in Division 1 – again.
Though the points system in England is described as a “bonus points system”, it should not be misconstrued in this way in Barbados.
Instead, it should be viewed as a straight means to an end – to determine first innings points – and that’s it!
In fact, the points earned from the victory should really be contextualised as “bonus points”, since they are essentially awarded in addition to whatever was earned over the course of the first innings.
As a result, the BCA should be advised that there is no need to allocate the three-and-one for first innings lead, as was done under the old points system.
This is defeating the whole purpose of establishing a first innings points system in the first place, since teams have shown a willingness to settle for batting and bowling points, plus three first innings points, rather than push for an outright victory.
Another reason for the new points system was to eliminate the draw as much as possible without taking it completely out of the game, ensuring a far more competitive and attractive tournament.
Keeping the three-and-one helps to keep the draw as a respectable result, and also creates the anomaly of some teams benefiting from getting more points than their opponents when they have lost, as happened last season.
It is also recommended that the English version of allocating the same number of points to both teams when a match has ended in a draw is more balanced and fair, so that neither team gets a significant advantage when their match ends in this result.
Remember, the main aim of the introduction of this points system by administrators was to see higher levels of scoring by our teams, so the emphasis should always be placed on runs scored, rather than wickets taken, since we have all accepted that teams are being dismissed too cheaply in the competition in recent times.
It is, therefore, being recommended that the BCA adopt the attached points system for this season’s Division 1 championship (see accompanying box), with the total allocation of points to any one side in a match becoming 16.
The system being proposed should bring far greater clarity and parity to the batting and bowling point allocations, and make the Division 1 championship far more competitive.
• Adriel Richard is a sports correspondent/anchor for the Caribbean Media Corporation. Email [email protected]