The sixth edition of the Big Bash League (BBL), Australia's answer to the Indian Premier League (IPL), got off to a one-sided start on Tuesday after defending champions Sydney Thunder were drubbed in the opening encounter by fellow city franchise Sydney Sixers.
The match may not have created much of a buzz for the quality of cricket played, but there certainly were a few eccentricities on offer which caught one's attention. Among those was West Indian T20 specialist Andre Russell — rendering his services for Thunder — walking out with a black-and-pink-coloured bat during his team's innings on Tuesday, and that seemed to dominate the buzz on social media.
Former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who was keeping the wickets for Sixers in this match, voiced his doubts over the legality of the bat when he was mic'd up during the match, according to news.com.au.
"With that black bat, the ball, if you have a close look at it, it has four black marks on it. So if he had of batted for any time, it may have proven hard to see," Haddin was quoted as saying.
Cricket Australia (CA), however, was quick to remove any doubts over whether the bat could be used or not, stating that a player can use a coloured bat that either was painted in the club's primary colours, or black.
"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," a CA spokesperson was quoted as saying according to a report in cricket.com.au.
Russell's fellow West Indian Chris Gayle had also wielded a coloured bat — made by Spartan, the Indian company that also manufactured Russell's bat for the BBL 6 opening match — during Melbourne Renegades' fixture against Brisbane Heat in the latter's den in the BBL last year.
Incidentally, Pakistani cricketer Ashar Zaidi was found to have broken rules after using a coloured willow during the NatWest T20 blast earlier this year, although it helped him smash a scintillating half-century that propelled Essex Eagles into the quaterfinals.
Let us take a look at some of the reactions to Russell's flashy new bat:
Bloody hell look at Andre Russell's bat!
The 'Dark Saber' of the cricket world woah! #BBL06
— SLEIGH BUCKS 🇦🇺 (@TheMasterBucks) December 20, 2016
— Swapnil Sawant (@ImSwap45) December 20, 2016
— Mitch (@MitchDoyle13) December 20, 2016
Andre Russell batting with a Sydney Sixers player... #BBL06
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) December 20, 2016
Having been put to bat by Sixers skipper Moises Henriques, Sydney Thunder kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Russell, who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL aside from several other T20 clubs across the world, walked out following the dismissal of Jake Doran, and started his innings off with a lofted pull towards wide long-on to show a brief glimpse of the destruction he is capable of with the willow, though he was caught behind for a lowly score of nine. Sixers eventually collected their first points after half-centuries by the skipper as well as Daniel Hughes helped them register a crushing nine-wicket win.
Updated Date: Dec 21, 2016 11:51:24 IST