BBL scraps automatic six rule for Marvel Stadium

After two balls hit the Marvel Stadium roof in the same match last season, Cricket Australia has changed the rule for BBL|13

Batters will no longer be automatically awarded six runs for hitting the Marvel Stadium roof under changes to Cricket Australia's playing conditions for the 2023-24 season.

The new rule that will be in place for KFC BBL|13 beginning on December 7 will put it at the umpires' discretion to determine if the ball was going to clear the boundary.

If they decide it was, they will award the batter six runs. If not, it will be ruled a dead ball.  

It's the third time the rule has been changed since the inception of the competition in 2011 and comes after Melbourne Renegades were cruelly robbed of two catching opportunities in the same match against crosstown rivals the Stars last season after Englishman Joe Clarke and Beau Webster skied shots straight up into the roof.

On both occasions the ball landed within the 30-yard fielding restriction circle.

Clarke gets lucky break as catching chance hits roof

But under the playing conditions in place for BBL|12, both Clarke and Webster were awarded a six as the ball having been struck by their bat hit "any part of the stadium roof structure, retractable or fixed".

"It would have been two dismissals," Renegades captain Aaron Finch said at the time.

"It's hard to police because you've got these beams that hang over, they're already over the boundary so if it hits that you should get six.

"If you hit it straight up and get six, honestly, I don't know."

The original adjudication was for all roof hits to be declared a dead ball, but was first changed to differentiate between the retractable and fixed parts of the roof. It was changed a second time to award six runs for any impact with the roof.

At least five batters have hit the roof throughout the BBL's 12 seasons – including Finch twice – while Mike Hussey was famously denied a certain six when he hit Makhaya Ntini into one of the support beams during a match against the World XI in 2005.

Peter Roach, CA's Head of Cricket Operations and Scheduling, told cricket.com.au it "just seemed a little bit wrong" a batter could get six by hitting it straight up in the air.

Finch hits the roof

Only the two on-field umpires and third umpire will determine whether it is six or a dead ball and no technology or ball tracking will be used, with CA explaining that feedback had indicated the technology is not always immediately available.

"The rules has changed a couple of times along the journey and each time it's gone all one way or the other," said Roach.

"There's actually an existing rule (Law in cricket where if a ball is hit along the ground and a 'joker' from the crowd jumps the fence and stops it, the umpires make a ruling whether it goes for four or not based on how fast it was going, where it was going and where the fielders were.

"So boundaries are already assessed in certain circumstances by umpires so we think this is a logical extension.

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"Every case we've seen it's been a pretty clear position of either the ball is going for six or it's not … we think the three officials that are there are best placed to make that call."

Roach said they had two umpires sitting on the playing conditions panel who were as adamant they would be very well placed to assess whether the ball was going for six or not.

"The overhanging beam is clearly going to go for six, it can't not because almost all of it is over the boundary," he said.

"The trajectory it has to be for a ball to hit the top roof, if it doesn't go straight up, (to not to be a dead ball) it's going to be an incredible shot that we haven't seen before."

The latest change to the 'roof rule' has been set up in the hope that it can be applied to future stadiums with a roof, such as the proposed new venue for Hobart's Macquarie Point should cricket be played there.