Watson opposes MCC’s proposed restriction on bat sizes

Melbourne: Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has firmly put his front foot forward in opposing the latest proposed restriction on bat sizes by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

The MCC’s World Cricket Committee, which include Ricky Ponting among other cricket luminaries and is chaired by former England captain Mike Brearley, suggested that size of a bat’s edges and depths should be limited to 40 mm and 67 mm respectively, following a two-day conference in Mumbai last week.

“Many of the top players’ bats have edges of between 38mm and 42mm, but there are some which have edges of up to 50mm, which was felt to be excessive and in need of restriction,” the MCC had said.

“As a result, the main Committee of MCC will be asked to approve a limit to bat edges of 40mm and bat depths of 67mm (60mm for the depth plus an allowance of 7mm for a possible curve on the face of the bat),” the governing body said.

Opposing the restriction on bat sizes at the highest level, Watson said batsmen should not be punished for using bigger bats and instead it should be the bowlers who need to evolve along with the modern bat technology.

“I don’t think there should be bat restrictions because in the end the game’s always moving forward. Bat companies are always trying to find a competitive advantage. As long as they’re legal, as in there’s not cork or anything (illegal) in them, then you can’t restrict the size of a bat,” cricket.com.au quoted Watson as saying.

“Someone like Chris Gayle uses a three pound bat, so his bats are naturally going to be bigger but he’s strong enough to be able to lift a bat like that. You’ve got to be better as a bowler. There’s always ways you can try and (avoid) the middle of the bat of a batsman when you’re bowling. Some days are better than others, but there’s always ways and that’s the skill of a bowler to try and evolve and get better,” the 35-year-old added.

If the proposed restriction by the MCC is approved, it would be added to the Laws of Cricket and would be introduced at the start of October 2017.

Watson’s former opening partner David Warner would be one of the players whose bat would be outlawed under the proposed recommendations.

Warner’s T20 bat has a depth of 85mm—18mm more than the proposed new guidelines.