Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Objects of fetish

The crash and burn of Woodworm, flash bat providers to KP and Andrew Flintoff, wasn't quite on the scale of Lehmann Bros, but just as the IPL and Stanford Super Series carry vague echoes of Kerry Packer's circus, so Woodworm immediately brought St Peter to mind.

St Peter, with their graphically beautiful SP logo, burst into the consciousness by signing one of the biggest stars of the day, Tony Greig, to front them. Greig not only used the bat but debuted the classic 'mitts', the one-piece batting gloves that became instant objects of fetish. After a century of lumpen sausage gloves (and even spikes for the nets) how sleek and 21st century were Greiggy's mitts. Club grounds were soon awash with SP bats and gloves. If I remember correctly, even King Viv had a brief SP flirtation post Jumbo and before Duncan Fearnley. Then as soon as they had arrived, they were gone (although a cursory search reveals you can still pick up SP bats in Oz).

The Batsman landed an SP from a bloke my father met on a building site. It was far too heavy for my puny early adolescent wrists but the pull of the logo was great. I used it the first time I batted through an innings (instant nostalgia: first bat I scored a fifty with was a Slazenger, first hundred with a Gray Nicolls Scoop (!), thousand runs in a season for the first time with a County: Christ I can even remember how each one smelt. The two best I ever held were a Slazenger V12 that belonged to a teammate - I was still in and using it when he came to the wicket; he was saintly enough not to demand it back at that moment - and a short-handled Jumbo in a sale at a shop in Kingston (Surrey, not Jamaica) that picked up like a wand and that I've always regretted not buying).

Selecting and using bats looms heavily in the psyche of almost every batsman (see Marcus Trescothick's recent autobiography, and Ramps' devotion to the Gray Nicolls Predator that took him to the hundred hundreds). When you pick up a bat that you're going to use, you just know. You have to be strong if it's a make you don't favour. 

KP will now front adidas's assault on the bat market, while Freddie looked like he was using Puma out in Antigua. The Batsman has met Puma's batmaker and can testify to his talent. He did, however, look up from his lathe and lament, "it all depends how good your stickers are these days..."

NB: The names of bats used to reflect their shape or heritage: Jumbo, Scoop, Signature etc. Now they're becoming as nonsensical as car brands. The adidas range are called Incurza, Libra and Pellara. Which one are you?

1 comment:

pay per head reviews said...

oh this is so nice, I have read previous objects of fetish posts before on your blog, but I think this was the first post of this series!! :D