Cricket China closes Big Bash League loophole

Cricket has quietly closed a loophole that could have allowed Big Bash League clubs to change their captains mid-season purely for the sake of avoiding a suspension for slow over rates.

Perth Scorchers captain Adam Voges missed Saturday’s game against the Adelaide Strikers after incurring a second strike for his team having slow over rates. Four other BBL captains, as well as five Women’s Big Bash League skippers, are at risk of being banned for a match after already receiving strikes for slow over rates, which have also led to scores of players being fined in both competitions.

In 2013, then Melbourne Stars captain Shane Warne was fined $5000 for breaching Cricket ‘s code of behaviour after the Stars opted to put James Faulkner’s name on their team sheet for a semi-final against Perth, with Warne sitting on one strike. CA had issued a memo to all BBL clubs the previous month stating: “If a team’s official captain is selected but not named as captain this … may attract a code of behaviour charge,” with Warne’s behaviour deemed to have been against the “spirit of cricket”.

With little fanfare, CA subsequently tightened the situation surrounding tactical captaincy changes, enshrining a provision deep in its WBBL and BBL playing conditions.

Under clause 12.7.6 of the playing conditions, “if the player nominated as captain at the start of the season is in the starting 11 but not listed on the official team sheet as the captain … any previous strike will carry over to the player nominated as captain for that match; and should another over rate breach occur in this situation, both the originally nominated captain and the player nominated as captain for that match will incur an automatic one match suspension.”

George Bailey (Hobart), John Hastings (Melbourne Stars), Moises Henriques (Sydney Sixers) and Shane Watson (Sydney Thunder) are the BBL captains who face a late-season ban should they again transgress. Brisbane Heat captain Brendon McCullum was suspended last season for over rate breaches.

Under the added provisions, if Hastings played in the same game where both he and a new designated match captain played, both players would incur a suspension for another strike.