Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has weighed in on the debate that has been raging for a few years now. Have increasing cricket bat sizes given batsmen an unfair advantage against bowlers in the modern game?
A study commissioned by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) found that average bat thickness had increased by up to 22 millimetres in the past century and edges by almost 300 per cent. As a result, the sweet spot has become almost 2.5 times larger meaning miss-hits travel further.
Ponting’s voice will lend some weight to the renewed call for the thickness and weight of bats to be restricted. The issue was discussed at the 2014 meeting of the MCC World Cricket Committee but eventually overruled. Speaking recently at the Australian Cricket Society’s annual dinner, Ponting said:
“I don’t mind (big bats) for the shorter versions of the game. I would actually say you’ve got a bat you can use in Test cricket and a certain type of bat you can use in one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket.”
“The short forms of the game survive on boundaries – fours and sixes – whereas the Test game is being dominated too much now by batters because the game is a bit easier for them than it was.”
In the Defence of Cricket Bat Sizes
But Ponting won’t have it all his own way at the meeting. Other batsmen lining up in the defence of cricket bat sizes. Most notably Brendan McCullum, who will join the MCC World Cricket Committee this year, is all for the advancement of technology in the sport:
“It’s a natural product – it’s wood. If you’ve got the right people to find a piece of wood for you that’s big and you’re able to lift then, in my mind, play on.”
“My bats are 3lbs 1oz for instance but you’ve got to lift them and that’s the thing. You’ve got to get to the gym and get bigger and stronger. That’s the evolution of the game. You shouldn’t be penalised for that.”
Where do you stand on the debate? Should bat sizes be restricted? Let us know in the comments section below.