BBL - Sixers v Scorchers
COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Jordan Silk of the Sixers bats during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Perth Scorchers at , on January 09, 2022, in Coffs Harbour, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
BBL - Sixers v Scorchers

When the Sydney Sixers sent an injured Jordan Silk in to bat during the last over of the Big Bash League Challenger against the Adelaide Strikers, it was clear they would tactically retire him if needed.

A completely undermanned Sixers side, without a number of stars due to COVID, and with more going down injured during the game, were set a challenging 167 to chase down.

By the time the last over came around, they had gotten it down to 12 runs required with six balls in hand, however, the over couldn't have started off worse.

Hayden Kerr and Sean Abbott had, up until that point, looked somewhat untouchable, with Kerr sitting on 85 from just 54 balls, and Abbott - who had gone in at number six - going at a strike rate of over 200 with 41 from 19 balls.

That would be where the fun ended for Abbott though as he hit the first ball of Harry Conway's over straight to long off.

The following ball would see Ben Dwashuis run out attempting to come back for two and keep the free-flowing Kerr on strike.

That left a dillema for the Sixers. Bring Jay Lenton - who is their assistant coach but was forced to play - to the crease, or send out an injured Jordan Silk at number eight?

They went with Silk knowing they needed boundaries, despite the fact he could barely run.

He managed to take a single off the next ball, leaving ten needed from the final three balls and a boundary urgently needed.

Kerr did just that, clobbering the next ball into the grandstand before taking two from the next, Silk struggling to move but making it home nonetheless.

What followed saw social media blow up and Fox Cricket commentators question whether the spirit of the game had been broken, with the Sixers retiring Silk who was at the non-strikers end and sending in a fit runner in Jay Lenton.

Peter Siddle seemed to mount an on-field protest at the time, but clarified he had no problem with it following the conclusion of play in an interview.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 02: Peter Siddle of the Strikers reacts during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Thunder and the Adelaide Strikers at GIANTS Stadium on January 02, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

The shot from Kerr would likely have been good enough for two anyway even with Silk at the crease, however, the pressure created by Lenton running caused a midfield with the ball going for a boundary.

Kerr would end up with 98 from just 58 balls, an innings which will put him into BBL folklore, undoubtedly one of the best of all-time.

However, it has been completely overshadowed by the blow-up afterwards.

Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh both questioned it on the broadcast, while others on social media blew up over the Sixers using the gamesmanship.

However, under the laws of the game, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what the Sixers did, and what's more, Blind Freddy could see it was coming from the moment Silk hobbled to the middle if a last-ball situation emerged.

Under the laws of the game - 25.4 specifically - a batsman may retire at any point as follows:

25.4.1 A batter may retire at any time during his/her innings when the ball is dead. The umpires, before allowing play to proceed, shall be informed of the reason for a batter retiring.

25.4.2 If a batter retires because of illness, injury or any other unavoidable cause, that batter is entitled to resume his/her innings. If for any reason this does not happen, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired - not out’.

25.4.3 If a batter retires for any reason other than as in 25.4.2, the innings of that batter may be resumed only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason his/her innings is not resumed, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired - out’.

25.4.4 If after retiring a batter resumes his/her innings, subject to the requirements of 25.4.2 and 25.4.3, it shall be only at the fall of a wicket or the retirement of another batter.

That said, even if Silk wasn't hurt and they believed another player was better suited to running from the non-strikers end, they could have made the exact same decision as they did last night.

It has been utilised previously, but it's almost surprising in some instances that batsmen who are struggling with strike rate or running aren't yanked from the crease in the shortest form of the game.

Yes, it would be marked as "retired-out", but it's a tactic which hasn't infiltrated the T20 game like it could have given teams will do just about anything to win.

Whether it's in the spirit of the game is up for debate, but neither is the mankad and that still happens from time to time.

The bottom line is that the laws of the game are written and there for all teams to use. Whinging about a team following them to the letter is beyond a joke.

Further to that, it has taken away from what was one of the best BBL innings of all-time.

Kerr's almost century was the only reason the Sixers were close to the position they were in, and while they may not be able to go and complete a grand final victory and three-peat against Perth on Friday evening, his innings should go down amongst the best of all-time.

It's just a shame it hasn't got the credit it deserves.