Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson (AFP Photo)

Australia‘s fast bowling legend Mitchell Johnson has raised doubts over the dollars being spent for the marketing and various innovations being introduced in the Big Bash League (BBL) saying it has the potential to change the aspirations of young kids to don the Baggy green one day.

Johnson took to Twitter to express his views after media reports emerged that the BBL, Australia’s T20 league, is set to replace cricket’s age-old custom of coin toss with the backyard practice of flipping a bat for the upcoming season.

Viewers will be treated to the unusual sight of captains at the coin toss not calling heads and tails but hills and flats and using a customised bat for the same.

“I’m guessing sponsors will be plastered all over the bat,” Johnson wrote in reply to a tweet related to the development. “What next, one hand one bounce, electric wickie, 6 & out, unless hit out of the stadium!! Let’s worry about game development & other important things that matter. Is the baggy green top priority these days?

For those uninitiated with the rules of backyard cricket, one hand one bounce means a batsman can be given out if the ball has bounced once off the ground provided a fielder catches it one handed. Electric wickie means using a solid structure [door, tree trunk etc,] as a substitute for a wicketkeeper and six and out means a batsman is given out if the ball his hit out of the boundary. Replying to another tweet criticising him for his opinion on the latest innovation to have hit the BBL, Johnson was apprehensive regarding the impact the rising popularity of the league could have on young cricketers.

Kim McConnie, head of BBL, knows what entails to tinker with one of cricket’s oldest customs but has thrown her weight behind the move. “For me it’s a great moment which reflects what BBL is about,” McConnie said. “Some people don’t like change but I’d also challenge people to say when was the last time anyone watched the coin toss or really focused on it to a great extent?”

She added, “I’ve got it from great authority at our [bat maker] Kookaburra friends that this is a tested and weighted bat to deliver that equity. Now we are making it much more relevant to families, we are creating a moment which is much more fitting with kids,” she said.

BBL 08 gets underway from December 19.