Big Bash League introduces the baffling bat flip instead of the coin toss

HIGHLIGHTS

⚬ The Big Bash League will see a bat flip instead of the coin toss from this season. 

⚬ Skippers will call ‘hills’ or ‘flats’ instead of the traditional ‘heads’ or ‘tails’.

⚬ How this move will eradicate the undue advantage garnered to the skipper winning the flip is still unknown. 


Brisbane Heat’s new skipper Chris Lynn will become the first player in the history of the game to flip a bat instead of the traditional coin at the toss in the inaugural match of the Big Bash League when his side takes on Adelaide Strikers on December 19. The BBL organizers will invent a new specially weighted bat for the bat flip, which is guaranteed to ensure that the results are 50-50 in favor of both teams.

Instead of calling out ‘heads’ or ‘tails’, the visiting team will have the option of calling out either ‘hills’ or ‘flats’, a term which is more synonymous with backyard cricket in Australia. After using LED stumps, that flash every time the ball crashes against it or the wicket-keeper whips the bails off, the BBL is on course for yet another invention, which could revolutionize cricket even more, according to BBL head Kim McConnie.

“For me, it’s a great moment, which reflects what BB is about,” McConnie said. “Some people don’t like the change, but I’d also challenge people to say when was the last time anyone watched the coin toss or really focussed on it to a great extent? Now we are making it much more relevant to families – we are creating a moment that is much more fitting for kids. If you’re out in the backyard what do you do? You toss the bat to decide.”

While the move is garnering a lot of headlines, the exact purpose of the change is still unknown. For years, the coin toss has been criticized for giving undue advantage to one side especially if the conditions are too varied over the two innings.

If a team wins the toss and opts to bowl first in cloudy, seaming conditions, they will have the upper hand. Alternatively, if the side opts to chase when dew sets in during the second half the match will be tilted in their favor. In such scenarios, the toss often dictates the terms of the match, which is what most players had rallied around to change.

Sachin Tendulkar had come up with an idea, where, in an ODI, team bats for 25 overs followed by the first 25 overs of the next team. The two sides then return to complete the following 25 overs. This will not only give the two teams a shot to battle it out in similar conditions – both sides will get a chance to bowl when the conditions are of help to the pacers and then when it is against them as the dew starts to settle in – but will also truly test a player.

However, instead of coming up with a progressive idea to negate the impact of the toss completely from the result, the Big Bash League organizers are just substituting one with the other. The captain that wins the bat-flip will once again be at an advantageous position and can make full use of the conditions on offer. How this step then is being seen as a revolutionary move is baffling.

 

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