Limited Overs Sixermania … bring back the Five and an end to Sixes!

A large part of the focus in the Big Bash League, a large part of the commentators’ focus anyway, is on the hitting of sixes. The game-callers strive to outdo each other in exaggerated amazement at the distance each six travels (electronically measured) and lap up every crowd catch or would-be catch.

Channel 10 and Channel 9 structure their marketing of T20 and List A games around the action of big six hitting, highlight packages thrive on a roll call of sixes and the frenzied crowd reaction.

Everything is geared towards facilitating the hitting of sixes; the boundary rope positioned some distance in from the fence as a safety measure to prevent serious injury to fielders sliding into the boundary palings (Simon Jones-style), allied with modern bat technology and fielding restrictions. The outcome; sixes have become as commonplace as cooking programs on the box, it’s all too easy for the top batters in T20.

Consequently hitting a six has been devalued as an achievement, it is no longer considered that special or exceptional, just something really to be expected or anticipated … this ball, next ball, next over.

Basil Fawlty in the ‘Rat’ episode of Fawlty Towers (many of you will no doubt recall it) takes back, for the third time, the over-generous portion of veal cutlet he has just served up to the public health inspector, saying to the bewildered inspector, “Too much of a good thing always leaves one wanting less, I always find.”

So it is with the spate of faux sixes that pass over the rope without clearing the fence. Incidentally, I don’t understand why the ball lobbing on the rope on the full is considered a six, given that when the full field was used before, the ball had to clear the white picket fence to register a six (whereas hitting the white pickets on the full was only four).

My proposition is that we reintroduce the score of five to correctly acknowledge the devaluation of this lesser six. Before the Great War a stroke that cleared the boundary line or fence on the full was worth ‘five’ (a little later it was adjusted up to ‘six’ to give the shot a fairer proportional differentiation to a ‘four’). A five could be awarded for a shot that lands over the rope but does not clear the fence.

The difference between a ‘5’ and a ‘6’ might not amount to much in the scheme of an individual’s innings* but it does justly reward the superior hit, a real six which truly is “hit OUT of the field of play”.

* Although it could make a substantial difference – the great pre-WWI batsman Victor Trumper in a Sydney grade cricket match in 1903 hit 22 fives (as they were worth then) in an innings of 335 in 165 minutes. If achieved today Trumper would have scored 357.

About Pagan Maven

Outside left for Gorky Park Cadres U12s; Kremlin Gremlins U14s - Stalinovskiy Vodka Juvenile League. Ricky Lenin B & F medal winner 1966-67. Mascot for Felchester Rovers senior side in the Q-League. Bolshevikskaya Primary School cadet sports journalist covering the USSR V Australia international amateur boxing tournament "From Russia With Glove" (Melbourne 1963). Emeritus Left Winger, Trotskiy Collectivisation Colts.


  1. Whilst we’re on cricket I might digress to another cricketing topic.

    We’re watching the T20 match, across the ditch, where the locals are playing Pakistan. It is the 500th international match the home side have played in Aotearoa. Their first international was against the British tourist back in 1929-30. It was a test match at Eden Park, that the visitors won.

    That’s my cricketing fact for today.


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