It looks like a toothpick in the burly hands of Matthew Hayden. But this new bat may well become a sledgehammer feared by rival bowlers in IPL 3.
In yet another innovation in cricketing gear, the Chennai Super Kings opener is set to switch to a bat with a shorter blade and longer handle for the IPL, the first such variation in the game at this level in recent years. Hayden was clearing the ground with utmost ease using his customised willow on the first day of practice for CSK at the Chepauk Stadium on Monday.
The Mongoose bat (named after the manufacturers) has been specifically designed for T20 cricket, with the blade 33 per cent shorter than the conventional one and the handle 43 per cent longer. Hayden is in the process of working out his own model. Since it meets the basic requirements, even the ICC has given its clearance.
Hayden’s bat is clearly different in appearance. Though the former Aussie opener was not ready to talk about it, sources close to him pointed out that he has been working with this bat for the last two months. “He is always planning to bring in innovations into the game. This one was suggested to Hayden about a year back by the company but he was not sure about it. Later, as he started on his preparations for the IPL, he started working with it,” the source said.
Though a few players like Azhar Mahmood, Stuart Law and Lou Vincent have used such innovations in domestic leagues, the Mongoose bat has never been used in the IPL or in international fixtures before.
“What pleased Hayden was the bat’s sweet spot, which is twice the size then that in a conventional bat. The edges also are much bigger in size, which will make those flashes outside the off stump race to the boundary,” the source added.