Concern over legitimacy of Ponting~~s bat

Published: Thursday, April 21, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:The MCC want to ban Australian captain Ricky Ponting's revolutionary cricket bat ahead of this year's Ashes series in England, reports said here.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), cricket's lawmaker, is concerned that Ponting's bat has been strengthened by a thin strip of carbon graphite which it feels gives the Australian skipper an unfair power advantage.

The MCC has expressed its concerns to the International Cricket Council (ICC), which will debate the matter as part of an overall review of bats at a meeting in Dubai next month, the Daily Telegraph said Thursday.

The newspaper said the Lord's-based organisation did not respond to its telephone calls and emails because it said it could not work out which department was permitted to talk publicly on the issue.

But an ICC spokesman confirmed to the newspaper that Ponting's bat was up for review.

"At present there is a MCC process ongoing on this matter and, pending the completion of this process, the player is permitted to use the bat in question," the spokesman said.

Ponting hit a double-century against Pakistan with the bat in Sydney last January, a century in the Asian tsunami charity match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and made 293 runs at 97.66 in three Tests in the recent series in New Zealand.

The laws of the game state that the blade of the bat may be covered with material for "strengthening, protection or repair" as long as the material doesn't damage the ball.

Rob Elliott, the managing director of Kookaburra, which made the bat and is also the largest manufacturer of cricket balls in the game, said it was "rubbish" to suggest the graphite provided extra power or would damage the ball.

Elliott said the MCC wanted to ban the bat and felt it could be a part of the MCC's attempt to try to destabilise Australia's Ashes campaign.

"The carbon reinforces the strength of the blade but it also protects the blade," Elliot said.

"We designed the bat with the use of the carbon reinforcement to prolong the life of the bat because the player wants to use the bat for as long as possible. Being a natural material, it has inconsistencies and it can break," he said of the willow traditionally used to make cricket bats.

"Providing it (the graphite) doesn't affect the wear and tear on the cricket ball, should they be worried? They are more worried about where this may end up than where it is now."

While the MCC no longer governs the game, having handed its power to the ICC, it still is the custodian of the laws of cricket and the newspaper said it could change the laws governing bats at an extraordinary general meeting.

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