A Christmas miracle? Andre Russell's controversial black bat could be making a surprise Big Bash comeback.
The striking black and hot pink bat was a social media sensation when the Jamaican strode out for the opening match of this KFC Big Bash League season.
But the bat left black marks on the white ball used in the match, prompting Cricket Australia to revoke permission for it to be used.
Russell batted with a standard piece of willow in the Thunder's second match, Thursday night's defeat to the Melbourne Renegades.
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But some quick improvements at Spartan HQ and the black bat could be back in action for the Thunder's next game – the crucial December 28 showdown with the Brisbane Heat at Sydney's Spotless Stadium.
Russell today showed off the improved Extratec coating, posting a video to his social media with Spartan founder Kunal Sharma demonstrating.
"Spartan is working in conjunction with Cricket Australia to meet the standard requirements for the S6R DreRuss black bat," Sharma told cricket.com.au
"We are satisfied with the progress being made and look forward to seeing Andre Russell using the bat again in future BBL fixtures for the Sydney Thunder."
Head of the Big Bash Anthony Everard has left the door open for a return of the black bat.
"Should Andre, or any other BBL or WBBL player for that matter, wish to use a bat with a different colouring solution to the one used last night that doesn’t result in the discolouration of the match ball, they will be permitted to do so subject to Cricket Australia being satisfied that the bat won’t compromise the integrity of the game, which we believe discolouring the match ball does," Everard said after the bat was initially banned.
Under Big Bash regulations, a player can use a coloured bat subject to Cricket Australia approval. The bat must be the same colour as the club’s primary colour, or black.
The umpires can also request a player change the bat if they believe it affects the integrity of the match.