SYDNEY, Australia — Andre Russell is likely to be using a more conventional bat for the Sydney Thunder’s second match in the Big Bash League.
The West Indies Twenty20 star raised a few eyebrows when he unveiled a black bat — a throwback to the Stanford Twenty20 Tournament in the Caribbean — for the opening match of the BBL against city rivals Sydney Sixers on Tuesday.
Complaints from the umpires and rivals in the game has led Cricket Australia to provisionally bar him from using the bat, which is trimmed with pink highlights, until the manufacturers can prevent it from leaving 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,” said head of the Big Bash League Anthony Everard.
“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.”
Russell had permission to use the coloured bat under the rules of the tournament, which stipulate it must be the same colour as the Club’s primary colour — or black.
A media release from the organisers said Cricket Australia however, retained the right to withdraw approval in its absolute discretion and umpires can also request a player change the bat if they believed it affected the integrity of the match.
It’s not the first time coloured bats have been used in the BBL — Russell’s compatriot Chris Gayle previously swung a gold bat for the Melbourne Renegades and Thunder teammate Aiden Blizzard used a green-coloured willow against the Sixers last season.
“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,” said Everard.
The colour of the bat hardly made a difference to the outcome of the match, as Russell made only nine from seven balls and the Thunder, defending 159, were thrashed by nine wickets. He and the Sixers will be hoping for better, when they face the Renegades on Thursday.