Melbourne Stars captain Adam Zampa believes fielders should be allowed to catch the ball with one hand in order to dismiss an opposing batsman who hits the Marvel Stadium roof.
Remarkably, in the Renegades’ Melbourne derby victory over the Stars on Saturday night, Stars batsmen Joe Clarke and Beau Webster both hit the roof.
But rather than being ruled dead balls by the umpire, under BBL rules both Clarke and Webster were awarded sixes, despite both shots going straight up into the air and almost certainly providing a catching chance for the Renegades had they been playing at an open-air stadium.
The controversial shots prompted Zampa to call for a staple rule of backyard cricket all around the country to be introduced to the Big Bash League, a one-handed catch off the roof.
“Why not? It’s honestly a little bit bizarre that they call it six when the ball goes straight up into the air,” Zampa said post-match.
“As a bowler you expect (when you) deceive a batsman to at least be a chance of getting a wicket.
“Maybe build the roof a bit higher,” he quipped.
“When it happens, you know how lucky you are, it’s nothing about getting on top of the bowler, or anything like that, it’s just pure luck.”
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Cricket great Mark Waugh was in complete agreement.
“It’s cost them 12 runs which is wrong,” Waugh told Fox Cricket.
“It’s just not going for six. At the minimum it should be a dead ball.
“Twelve runs is a big difference in this game – let alone the fact they would have been out.
“Can’t do much about that but there’s no way it should be an automatic six.
“They’ve got to have a look at that rule. It’s not right the way that rule sits at the moment.”
Waugh said he thought discretion should be in the umpires’ hands.
“If it looks like it’s not going anywhere near a six, it shouldn’t be a six,” Waugh said.
“It should be a dead ball. I think it’s ridiculous. If you hit it straight up and it should have been out, then you get a six as a reward. I think it needs to change.”
Renegades stand-in captain Aaron Finch wasn’t too fussed by the controversial sixes, despite how close they came to depriving his team their narrow six-run win.
He wasn’t sure if the rule should be changed again, either, after originally being deemed a dead ball, before being tweaked to its current interpretation after Finch himself hit the Marvel Stadium roof during a game a decade ago.
“The rule is what it is, it’s the same for both teams, so I don’t think you can complain,” he said.
“But it would’ve been two dismissals … so that makes a big difference in a game.
“It’s hard to police isn’t it? Because you have these beams that hang over (the field of play), they’re already over the boundary so if it hits that, you should get a six, (but) if you hit it straight up you get a six, I don’t know.
“But I think the game is better with the roof closed at Marvel, because there’s so many buildings around (the Docklands precinct), there’s a lot of light that comes in and if you’re fielding it can be really difficult to see as the sun is setting off the seats.”
The Stars’ finals dream is all but over, and Zampa couldn’t hide his disappointment.
“It would’ve been nice going into the last three games with something to play for,” he said.
“It was always going to be a tough season without the best player in the comp (Glenn Maxwell due to a broken leg), and obviously ‘Stoin’ (Marcus Stoinis) has been out quite a bit as well.
“When you miss two experienced guys like that, it’s a big loss, but I think we were good enough to make finals this year at least.”
Renegades batsman Sam Harper is in a rich vein of form, having now hit three consecutive fifties, and Finch was full of praise for the No.3.
“The way that he’s managing his innings at the moment is brilliant, he’s obviously got all the shots so the way that he’s constructing it has been outstanding,” Finch said.
“Maybe be a kick in the backside (helped Harper) as well after missing a couple of games.”
One batsman who isn’t enjoying a good run is star import Martin Guptill, who is averaging just 15.86 in his seven games for the Renegades, but Finch was still “100 per cent” confident the New Zealander could turn things around in the back-end of the season.
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Finch said.
Veteran Renegades spinner Fawad Ahmed appeared to hurt his knee late in the game against the Stars, but Finch was hopeful he would be available for their next game against the Thunder in Sydney on Thursday.
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