New Zealand Cricket will introduce “catch zones” as part of new rules to enhance safety as fans attempt to catch balls in the stands to win cash prizes.
The governing body and a brewery sponsor are offering $50,000 (£26,300) to any fan who catches a six one-handed while wearing a promotional T-shirt.
But some players are concerned families are being endangered as a result.
“Zones” will be implemented and fans will be disqualified if their behaviour is “unruly” in making a catch.
A statement from NZC read: “Unruly, or behaviour which risks injury such as diving, will be deemed in breach of the promotion’s terms and conditions, therefore disqualifying contestants in the event of a successful catch.
“The principal change to the procedures will see a dedicated ‘catch zone’ created at venues, in which contestants will have to be located in order to qualify for the prize. Catches taken by patrons outside these zones will be deemed ineligible.”
The governing body clarified that catch zones will not be in place at matches at Auckland’s Eden Park and Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, but stressed that all other safety protocols will be.
NZC also said communications at events will be “amplified” to remind fans of “acceptable behaviour”.
‘Cannonballing into families’
NZC and sponsor Tui Breweries faced criticism following the Black Caps’ Twenty20 international win over West Indies on Wednesday where some fans were seen rushing to catch balls with children in close proximity.
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham tweeted that spectators were “cannonballing into families with small children” and sugested designated areas for the promotion, while retired Kiwi seamer Kyle Mills told Trackside Radio “someone is going to get hurt”.
The Catch A Million competition has not been in place in the country since the 2015 World Cup but will now feature at 23 one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals.
Fans are challenged to catch a six one-handed while wearing an official orange T-shirt – which sells for for $25 (£13).
The Black Caps will be in action again on Saturday when they meet Pakistan at Wellington’s Basin Reserve in a one-day international.