Bat becoming toss ka boss is not new. It was done in the 18th century!

Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 13:42 IST | Bipin Dani

"Tossing with the bat is a very old practice. It was done during the early 18th century before it was discontinued for the actual toss of the coin," Menon said

An 18th century painting by Robert James of a boy tossing a bat before a match
An 18th century painting by Robert James of a boy tossing a bat before a match

Next week in Australia's Big Bash League (BBL), a cricket bat will be flipped instead of a coin to decide which side would bat first. The practice of flipping the bat is, however, not new, according to renowned Indian cricket statistician Mohandas Menon. "Tossing with the bat is a very old practice. It was done during the early 18th century before it was discontinued for the actual toss of the coin," Menon said.

In the BBL, the captain will call either 'hill' or 'flat' when the specially designed Kookaburra bat is tossed. Former Pakistani captain Asif Iqbal termed it as an interesting concept and was aware of the old method too. "The way cricket has evolved since the late 70s, the introduction of coloured clothing, cricket under floodlights, white ball and so on, one can see this idea of the toss is another one [innovation]," said Asif.

"This new rule [flipping the bat] introduced by Cricket Australia (CA) will require a playing regulation to overwrite this part of the law which clearly states that a coin should be used," Ian Fraser, the Cricket Academy Manager at the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), said yesterday.

The MCC are custodians of the laws of the game. Law 13.4 states: "The captains shall toss a coin for the choice of innings, on the field of play and in the presence of one or both of the umpires, not earlier than 30 minutes, nor later than 15 minutes before the scheduled or any rescheduled time for the start of play."

Fraser added: "MCC has no intention of changing the law to accommodate such a rule but understands why Cricket Australia has chosen to do it, in an attempt to connect the professional game to grassroots and backyard cricket. It is pleasing to see that research has been carried out to design a bat to ensure that there is a 50-50 chance."

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