Cricket bats are the new coins and we couldn’t be happier

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Cricket bats (CC licensed by Kandukuru Nagarjun via Flickr)

They’re not going to toss a coin before Big Bash League matches, they’re going to toss a bat and call either “hills” or “flats.”

This is stupid and therefore brilliant because when it comes to T20 cricket in particular, stupid and brilliant are the exact same thing. It is also excellent news for those of us who feel that coins have held too much sway over society for far too long.

According to Wikipedia, the first coins were developed in Iron Age Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, in around the 7th and 6th centuries BC. Despite recent challenges from notes and contactless, the stubborn bastards still haven’t entirely gone out of fashion.

(We actually have a Turkish currency anecdote. We went to Istanbul when we were about 20 and accepted a kind parental offer of a million lira in coins that they had left over from a previous holiday. Neither they nor us thought to check how much this was in pound sterling. It turned out to be about a quid, so upon our arrival, we swiftly changed a larger sum of money and paid for everything in notes until our very last day. On that last day, we tried to use up the coins by buying kebabs and other street food and somehow came away with more than we could carry. Apparently street food was extraordinarily cheap in Istanbul back then and we really wish we’d made that discovery on day one. (Sub-anecdote: When we gave the guy at the bureau de change place fifty quid, he picked up a huge stack of notes and rapidly started counting them out, saying, “million, million, million, million…” When your mathematically-puny mind has spent the last few weeks laboriously grappling with any number of different exchange rates, this sort of thing triggers an instant and extremely heartfelt sigh-and-eye-roll combo. We just went for ‘one million = one pound’ in the end, which was close enough – although we still had to be extremely careful when counting zeros on menus.))

Hopefully cricket bats getting in on pre-match ceremonies is a statement of intent from them. Perhaps even an act of war. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to side with them in the ensuing conflict.

There’s a Bologna newspaper called Il Resto del Carlino, which means “the change you get from a Carlino.” A Carlino was the smallest unit of the local currency a hundred-or-so years ago, but for some reason people sometimes priced things at less than that. This meant that it wasn’t always possible to give people actual change, so they instead gave people a page of local news. (If only we could flog pages of King Cricket for such a hefty amount.)

We propose that all smaller units of currency – cents, pence, paise and the like – are abolished and instead replaced with cricket bats. Coins have had it their own way for long enough and the pocket industry could also do with a bit of stimulus and cricket-bats-as-change would surely provide this.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. When I first read this news I had to double check it wasn’t a Betoota Advocate article (Australia’s version of The Onion), but nope, reality is funnier than parody in these crazy times we live in.

  2. I hear in the next great Big Whoosh Bash, they’ll toss bitcoin instead. The ensuing cricket will play out completely in the audience’s minds with no player taking the field. It’s going to be surreal.

  3. In tennis I used to have a HEAD branded racquet that you spun and the arrow on the base of the handle used to point up or down. I could lend them that if CA are willing to pay for P&P.

    1. Yes, we have a “rough or smooth” toss of the tennis racket in real tennis.

      Some believe the odds to be weighted in favour of rough while others always call smooth, believing the laws of physics to favour smooth.

      My view – must be very close indeed to 50%/50% – but the problem is that there is no one clear determination on which side constitutes rough and which constitutes smooth,

      Hundreds of years of chaos.

      1. Aah, it’s where the cat gut doth terminate, Ged.

        In Real tennis, that is to say, proper tennis, the same rough/smooth (and on occasion, up/down – other brands of toss are available) – is often used, although no-one really wants to let their expensively-procured (we’re talking Fast Show levels of million millions of Lira here) racquet fall to the ground, so it is usually caught by the tosser before that happens. This can sometimes lead to cries of ‘fix’.

        Fighting usually ensues.


    Under-19s fifty-over world cup qualifying – Bhutan seemed to have got the better of the fixture, bowling Thailand out for 60 with just under half the overs gone. Phiriyapong Suanchuai top-scored with 17 off 53 balls. There were 14 extras.

    Guess which international side were bowled out today for 40 off 28.3 overs?

    1. Daisy and I went to Bhutan in 2000. We didn’t see any cricket there; unlike neighbouring hill kingdom Nepal, where we saw a fair bit.

      Crazy names in Bhutan. I like the two Thinleys (I’m guessing brothers) who, in good nominative determinism style, scored 1 run of 4 balls between the two of them – scoring almost as thinly as possible.

      Jigme Wangchuck was/is the name of the King of Bhutan, which sounded, to us, like a Lancastrian’s request for a particular type of sexual relief.

      But I digress.

      1. Genuinely fascinating, cheers Ged. Interesting how it seems to have caught on in Nepal. I wonder if IPL and the Afghan story will see it spread among the ‘Stans too.

  5. I’ve also been thinking that statistically it will probably favour one side over the other (more likely to roll over and land on the flat I recon), which means it’s even sillier than I first thought. The marketers might not take these T20 leagues seriously, but the players and coaches mostly do, and I’m sure they are looking to squeeze out any advantage, so are probably running bat toss simulations right now.

    1. They reckon they’ve developed a special, totally fair tossing bat. (Actual fact. Not satire.)

  6. Does the bat flip constitute a ‘cricket-bat-in-unusual-place’ story or will this in time become the norm (more of this sort of thing)? A heads-up perhaps that I have a potential cricket-bat-in-unusual-pace submission but I am deciding if it is tenuous enough to qualify for this site’s usually very strict conditions.

    In other news, Rohit Sharma’s back! As in, he’s knacked it, so has returned to not playing overseas tests. A sad day.

  7. The Yap islanders use a stone currency weighing up to 4 tons per coin. They are not known to play cricket.

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