The bat flip will be introduced to the Big Bash League this season. (AAP: Joe Castro, file photo)
A backyard-cricket-style bat flip will replace the coin toss in the Big Bash League (BBL) to decide which captain has choice of batting or bowling first.
- BBL captains will be required to call “hills” or “flats” to decide whether to bat or bowl first
- The bat flip is used widely in backyard cricket in Australia
- Cricket Australia says a modified bat will be used for the pre-match flip
In a move sure to rile traditionalists, the decision between “hills” or “flats” will usurp the customary captain’s call of “heads” or “tails” when season eight of the BBL begins on December 19.
The BBL has a reputation for innovation, led by the use of Zings stumps which illuminate when the bails are dislodged, and now a bat flip will replace one of cricket’s greatest customs.
“For me it’s a great moment which reflects what BBL is about,” Cricket Australia’s head of the Big Bash League, Kim McConnie, said.
“If you think about a coin toss it’s not really what kids do. If you’re out in the backyard what do you do? You toss the bat to decide.”
Cricket’s coin toss has been a topic of discussion in recent years with some suggesting it should be scrapped in favour of allowing the visiting team the decision to bat or bowl first.
Although the flip will bring a different look, the philosophy behind the toss remains unchanged, but the new method raises questions over the fairness of the process.
The call of “hills” remains a favourite in the backyard due to the natural tendency of the bat to rest with the “flats” side on the ground.
Ms McConnie said the bat used for the flip had been modified to promote an even result.
“You’d be surprised at the science that’s gone into this. It is a specially weighted bat to make sure that it is 50-50,” she said.
“I’ve got it from great authority at our [bat maker] Kookaburra friends that this is a tested and weighted bat to deliver that equity.”
Chris Lynn (centre) will have the honour of taking part in the first BBL bat flip. (AAP: Dave Hunt, file photo)
Ms McConnie expected the new process to have its detractors but was more excited to see how it energised the start of a match.
“Some people don’t like change but I’d also challenge people to say when was the last time anyone watched the coin toss or really focused on it to a great extent?” she said.
“Now we are making it much more relevant to families, we are creating a moment which is much more fitting with kids.”
Brisbane Heat’s new captain Chris Lynn is poised to become the first hosting skipper to conduct the flip when his team plays reigning champions Adelaide Strikers in the BBL season opener at the Gabba on December 19.