Cricket Australia has banned Andre Russell’s black bat from the Big Bash League, having previously approved its use during the Sydney Thunder’s first match of the tournament.
Russell used the black bat on Tuesday as the Thunder lost to the Sydney Sixers. Cricket Australia said at the time that players could use a coloured bat subject to CA approval – provided it was either black or the same colour as the team’s uniform – and that Russell’s bat had been approvedahead of the BBL.
However, CA has now withdrawn its approval after discovering that the bat left visible marks on the ball.
“The match officials provided feedback to Cricket Australia that the bat used by Andre left black marks on the match ball,” Anthony Everard, the head of the BBL, said. “As a result, we have decided to withdraw our approval for Andre to use the bat that was used last night as the colour solution used by the manufacturer was discolouring the ball.
“Should Andre, or any other BBL or WBBL player for that matter, wish to use a bat with a different colouring solution to the one used last night that doesn’t result in the discolouration of the match ball, they will be permitted to do so subject to Cricket Australia being satisfied that the bat won’t compromise the integrity of the game, which we believe discolouring the match ball does.”
Chris Gayle had used a gold coloured bat in last year’s BBL, produced by the same bat manufacturers, Spartan.
A MCC spokesman confirmed that the relevant Law is 6.6(d) which states: “The surface of the blade may be treated with non-solid materials to improve resistance to moisture penetration and/or mask natural blemishes in the appearance of the wood. Save for the purpose of giving a homogeneous appearance by masking natural blemishes, such treatment must not materially alter the colour of the blade.”
Cricket Australia are empowered to introduce playing regulations to overwrite this, although they seem merely to have given approval in an individual circumstance, now withdrawn. The ECB banned Ashar Zaidi from using a bat adorned in rudimentary fashion with spray paint in the NatWest Blast last season because it flouted their own regulations which disallow colouring below the top nine inches of the blade.