'I don't believe you deserve to hit a six off an edge'
CRICKET Australia boss James Sutherland has confirmed his role in helping instigate a review of the oversized bats used by superstars like his own entertainment king, David Warner.
Sutherland says he encouraged Ricky Ponting and the World Cricket Committee to thoroughly examine whether size restrictions should apply, but equally whether an overhaul of cricket balls was also needed to help safeguard bowlers from an imbalance between bat and ball.
Warner and other leading lights including Chris Lynn and Shane Watson have hit back at the proposal to ban their provocative giant willows, arguing that the game's No.1 priority should be to put bums on seats.
The historic hundred scored by Warner before lunch on day one of the Sydney Test and Lynn's 121m BBL six spoke volumes for the crowd-pulling power of the big bat.
However, Sutherland, a former first-class quick, says the opinions of international bowlers must also be taken into consideration.
In Sutherland's opinion, memorable moments like Warner's century and Lynn's six would still happen with smaller bats, but a size ban might stop the questionable look of top edges flying for six.
"I can understand people reviewing it and I think that we'd certainly encourage that with the MCC and the World Cricket Committee,” Sutherland said.
"I spoke to them in Adelaide the year before last ... my views were I would encourage them to look at that, but I felt to look at the bat in isolation without looking at the ball is probably fraught, or somewhat one-dimensional.
"There are things that should be looked at with the ball as well, to ensure the ball is providing enough support for the bowlers - whether it's around the hardness or the size of the seam.
"I think that if you hit the ball in the middle and you hit it for six, no matter what bat you've got, you deserve to have a six.
"But I don't believe you deserve to be able to hit a six off an edge.”
Sutherland made it clear he's not calling for bat restrictions, rather a thorough review to take place - because fair balance between bat and ball should be the game's objective.
Meanwhile, Sutherland says he has no problems with the pitches prepared for the Test matches in Sydney and Melbourne, despite criticism they're too flat.
Sutherland admits drop-ins like the MCG can be problematic, but is confident the new Perth Stadium will closely mimic the bouncy conditions that have always been synonymous with the WACA.
"That variability in pitches and unique character is important but at the same time, as we know, the necessities around drop-in pitches now with multi-purpose stadiums does make that a little bit more challenging,” he said.
"They've laid pitches at Gloucester Park (across the road from the WACA) and have actually been trialling those and using exactly the same soil as they use in the middle out at the WACA.
"They've actually done measurements about bounce and pace and all of those sorts of things and they're very, very comparable to the statistics.
"One would assume on that basis when they drop them in inside the new stadium we'll have a similar result, but time will tell.”
Cricket Australia has not heard back as yet from the Fair Work Ombudsman after a request was made to run the microscope over cricket's women's contracts and pregnancy guidelines.
CA is confident its current requirement that women players disclose pregnancy to a team doctor for health and safety reasons will be given the green light, but may not hear back from the ombudsman for some time yet.
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