Sydney:A split innings 12-a-side one-day cricket format will be trialled in Australia's national one-day cup this season, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Friday.
The new format will divide innings into two blocks, the first of 20 overs and the second of 25 overs, with fielding restrictions for the first five overs of each bracket that are relaxed slightly for the remainder.
Teams will earn an extra point for taking a first innings lead in the match even if they go on to lose overall, a system which is used in the domestic four-day Sheffield Shield matches.
Bowlers will be able to bowl a maximum of 12 overs rather than the usual 10, and pacemen will be permitted to bowl two bouncers an over rather than one. Teams can bat any 11 of the 12 squad members and field any 11 of the 12.
The modified format was developed following feedback from fans that while one-day cricket was their favourite format it needed refreshing to retain that status, CA chief executive James Sutherland said.
"We have listened to the public, undertaken comprehensive consultation across Australian cricket and developed a format which we now want to test thoroughly this (southern) summer," Sutherland said.
However, the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) criticised the format, with its chief executive Paul Marsh saying that the players had not been properly consulted.
"For the people that play and know the game better than anyone, this process has been difficult to comprehend and players are very disappointed," Marsh said.
"Players are open to changes to any format of the game that can make the game better, but they don't believe the split innings format is the best solution."
Marsh said an "overwhelming majority" of players in a ACA survey -- 78 percent -- had rejected the split innings format.
The players' union chief said his members were adamant that radical format changes were not the highest priority for the one-day game.
"Players continue to believe that administrators need to address the far bigger issues of the lack of context in one day international cricket and the excessive number of one-dayers that continue to be programmed," he said.
CA said the new format was approved by its board on Friday on the recommendation of CA's playing conditions committee, whose members include former Test stars Mark Taylor, Matthew Hayden, Greg Chappell and Shane Warne, with Marsh also part of the panel.
Sutherland said the new format was designed to offer fans a combination of a quality contest in an exciting format which encourages players to combine strategic thinking with attacking cricket.
"The fans told us, through formal research, that they like all three formats, there is a place for three cricket formats, (but) they like ODI cricket best," he said.
"But they want to see it refreshed and they want to see it with a short-form identity that is distinctively different from fast-emerging T20 cricket."