Bats not to blame for bowlers' plight, says Warner
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia opener David Warner says flat pitches rather than bats with thicker edges are the reason batsmen have the upper hand in test cricket.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting recently raised concerns about the rising imbalance between bat and ball and called for restrictions to be imposed on the willow sizes in the longest format of the game.
Ponting said he would raise the issue at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) world cricket committee meeting at Lord's next week and found support from Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who wants the advantage for batsmen to be negated.
"If we look around the country, I think the wickets are pretty much dictating the test cricket arena at the moment," Warner told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
"A lot of batsmen are scoring a lot of runs, there have been a lot of runs scored in the last 12 to 18 months; you can't specifically come out and say it is the big bats, because everyone around the country and around the world is scoring a lot of runs.
"It is a credit to the bat maker. He's told he can use one cleft of wood. If he can use his brains and technology to make a bat light and large, then it's credit to them."
Warner, whose bat sports one of the thickest edges in world cricket, said he actually used a smaller bat in tests unless they were playing in the subcontinent.
A report commissioned by the MCC in 2014 found the thickness of bats had marginally increased in the last century and that edges had broadened by 300 percent, meaning mistimed shots could still find the boundary.
As yet, however, there have been no restrictions imposed.
According to Warner, bats with thick edges were not always an advantage.
"If you go back to the Ashes and have a look at my leading edges, I think it probably didn't help me," Warner said, breaking into a laugh. "So there's pros and cons."
The 29-year-old was in fine form before he fractured his left index finger during the ODI tri-series in the Caribbean last month and was subsequently sent back home.
The attacking left-hander is unlikely to be fit for Australia's first warm-up game but is expected to partner Joe Burns at the top of the innings when the first test against Sri Lanka starts on July 26 in Pallekele.
"He probably won't play the two-day game but should play the first-class game – the tour game before we play the first test," coach Darren Lehmann told Fairfax Media. "Even if he didn't, I am not too worried about that.
"He is one of these guys who picks up a bat quite quickly. He has had broken fingers and injuries before and we have just plugged him back into test cricket and he is fine."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)