Monday 3 August 2009

Size matters

My dad was in his loft the other day, and he pulled down a vintage bat of mine from a trunk he'd last opened years ago. We looked at it and laughed. It's a County [now Hunts County] Insignia. It must weigh about 2lbs 4oz. It's wafer thin and so dark it seems to have been smothered in fake tan rather than linseed oil. It's maybe twenty years old, but on the evolutionary scale it's a fish that's crawled up onto the beach: it has more in common with Grace's bat than with Ponting's. 

We took it down to the nets. At first it was psychologically disturbing to face up with: I felt almost unarmed, outgunned. When I looked down, there was none of the testosterone-fuelled outrigging of the modern bat; no power bow or contoured spine, no massive edges or giant sweet spot or chrome-dream stickers. It wasn't named after a greek god and that worried me. If the ball missed the middle it didn't really go anywhere, and the first few that did hit the centre went in the air because the bat was so light I was through the shot before the ball had properly arrived. 

But then I cracked a few, and they went almost as well as any other bat. It was as much a mental as a physical adjustment. I wouldn't use it in a match, I wouldn't want to go back to it, but it taught me one thing: both the bats I'm using at the moment are too heavy. I'd forgotten how freely you can move with a feather in your hands. 

Driving home. I felt like a sucker. Without realising it, and despite telling myself I was far too sussed to be taken in, I'd bought into the myth of modern bats. I'd gone big and thick. Now I want something sleeker, slicker, sexier. Still big, but you know, not that big. 


Patricia said...

It's just like tennis.I play nearly every day. Extra light racquets are supposed to be bad for technique, heavier ones much better in every way. This is what the coaches say. But if you go to play and find you've forgotten your racquet, in five or ten minutes you get used to it and hardly notice the difference.

Prabu said...

I was lucky to meet Sachin in 2005 and my sister somehow convinced his wife to talk Sachin into giving me one of his bats. So I was dreaming scoring big with that bat for a whole 4 months before I actually met him and then it was pure joy when I took the bat in my hand from him and practised a few straight drives at nets. The ball rocketed out of the bat and felt great but 2005 was my worst year as a batsman. I got out so many times playing late on my flicks and getting LBWed or just simply being late on the shots that I decided to switch to one of my lighter, older bats and started scoring again. Now Sachin's bat sits at home as a showpiece and that's about it.

The Old Batsman said...

Prabu, great story - now spill the beans on that bat... how much does it weigh? How thick are those edges? We need to know...!

Prabu said...

3 lbs and 2 ounces ~ 1.4 kilos
Edge at thickest is ~1.25". If you measure the bow of the bat at the meatiest point is about 2.25"

Prabu said...

To answer your question accurately, I finally put my kitchen scale, the one my wife bought for me to measure my food intake 2 yrs back, to use! Thanks OB!