The Big Bash League began with a bang at the Sydney Showground Stadium today with the Sydney Sixer romping home to a 9 wicket win over city rivals Sydney Thunder.
Amidst the fireworks and the fanfare, there was one batsman who aroused the curiosity of onlookers when he went out to bat. All-rounder Andre Russell creates a buzz when walking out to bat on most days. But today, there was more to his arsenal than the usual – a black bat with a pink handle.
Batting at No.6, Russell walked out with the rather unusual looking bat and swung it around with usual candour. But his innings lasted just seven balls and two boundaries were all that he could manage before Doug Bollinger sent him back.
But his brief essay was good enough to attract plenty of attention.
Sydney Sixers wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, wearing a mic on the ground, asked if the bat was legal. This prompted immediate speculation over the fact that Russell might have flouted tournament guidelines.
A Cricket Australia (CA) spokesperson was quoted as saying that coloured bats can be used if approved by the CA. “A player can use a coloured bat subject to CA approval. The bat may be the same colour as the Club’s primary colour, or black. CA retains the right to withdraw approval in its absolute discretion. The umpires can also request a player change the bat if they believe it affects the integrity of the match.”
Fans might recall bats with bat colour being used in the infamous Stanford 20/20 tournament held in the West Indies between 2006 and 2008.
Earlier this year, Aiden Blizzard had used an electric green bat in a game against the Sixers in January this year.
And last year, Chris Gayle had wielded a gold coloured bat when playing for the Melbourne Renegades. Gayle however, had to obtain permission to use his “gold” bat as players were permitted to use bats sporting their team colours only.