Big Bash League 2016-17: Andre Russell's Black Bat 'Pretty Ridiculous', Says Shane Watson

December 28, 2016

Sydney Thunder all-rounder Andre Russell will be allowed to use his infamous black bat again in the Big Bash League, but his captain Shane Watson is no fan. 

When asked whether or not the bat should be brought back, Watson firmly rejected his teammate's willow.

Watson didn't believe the bat helped Russell. "I don't think it [the colour] makes any difference whatsoever," he said.

The BBL decided on Tuesday Russell could use the black blade, after some modifications, for the match against Brisbane Heat on Wednesday.

Head of the BBL Anthony Everard said: "Following feedback from the match officials that the bat used by Andre in the opening night of the season left black marks on the match ball, Andre has worked with his bat manufacturer to modify the bat. 

"A clear laminate cover has been applied to the bat, which complies with regulations to ensure the ball discolouration does not occur again.

"We're now satisfied that the bat will not compromise the integrity of the game by discolouring the match ball, and we have granted approval for Andre to use the bat in any future BBL matches." 

The reigning champions will be hoping whatever bat Thunder players use, they will score enough runs to beat the Heat, who have been buoyed after a victory in their opening match. 

Watson has been absent this season with a calf strain and is set to return at the Sydney Showgrounds, but ruled out the possibility of bowling.

"It has been frustrating, it's been my biggest lay-off of playing for about eight or 10 years. I haven't played a game since August," he said.

Even with the early struggles the team has faced, Watson says he doesn't feel under pressure.

"How things have started off haven't been ideal and, of course, we love to be able to win and get some momentum going forward, but I'm certainly not putting pressure on the guys to win the game.

"We've got a lot of very talented guys in our team both batting and bowling. We just need to find what's going to get the best out of those as a collective group." 

Heat bowler Ben Cutting was aware the Thunder would be desperate to turn around their season with a win, but backed his side to be stronger in the closing stages of each innings.

"They've had two losses so far, so we're expecting them to come pretty hard out of the gate," he said.

"We've done a lot of work closing out our innings with both the bat and the ball, so even if teams come hard out of the gate with the bat, we believe we can shut them down towards the back end." 

(The Sydney Morning Herald)

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