Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have weighed in on Australia Day’s backyard cricket rules. PICTURE: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have weighed in on Australia Day’s backyard cricket rules. PICTURE: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Mal and Bill slog out big debate over backyard cricket rules

MALCOLM Turnbull and Bill Shorten have weighed into the other big Australia Day debate threatening to tear apart families this year: Is six-and-out a legitimate rule?

Punters across this wide brown land will break out the bat and ball for backyard cricket today.

The Cairns Post asked the Bradman and Warne (you decide which one's which) of Australian politics just how they felt about the most divisive topic since bodyline was banned.

The PM was first at the wicket, revealing during his visit to Cairns on Sunday a decidedly ruthless position on those gifted with a big bat.

"At Kirribilli House, over the fence and into the harbour is six-and-out - and you've got to get the ball," he said.

"Which is pretty challenging, you know, because there are sharks in the harbour."

Mr Turnbull agreed it was a tougher ask in croc country.

"You wouldn't do it here," he said.

A lot can be read into the somewhat surprising response.

On one hand, it flies in the face of the capitalist notion of rewarding success.

Then again, it does teach us to live within our means.

The Opposition Leader's position showed him to be a true Labor man-of-the-people, ekeing out a living in the 'burbs with barely enough room to swing a stick.

"We've got pretty short boundaries at our place and we're a long way from Sydney Harbour, so I'm a strong believer that over the fence is six-and-out," Mr Shorten said.

"Luckily our neighbours are generous about throwing the ball back."

Ah, finally, some actual bipartisanship.

Debate rages over the
Debate rages over the "official rules" of backyard cricket.

 

PLAYING BY RULES

The rules of backyard cricket are many and varied, with geopolitical peculiarities popping up all over the place.

Here are some of the most common variations.

The most important thing here is to pick your rules before the game, and stick to them like a rusty barnacle.

Six-and-out: Over the fence and you're out, but not without adding a nice little sixer to your tally.

One hand, one bounce: Pretty self-explanatory. If you can grasp it off a single bounce with only one palm, the batter walks.

No LBWs: Too hard to police, lumpy pitches and a drunken umpire. Leg-before-wicket has no place in backyard cricket.

First ball grace period: Can't get out off the first ball. Stops your little brother from crying.

Tipsies: You hit it, you run. No matter how dodgy the edge.

Electric wicket: Fielders can run you out at either end of the pitch, regardless of which way you are running.

Target runs: Attribute special bonuses for inanimate objects - three runs for the bin, and five for the tree.


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