The recommendation to restrict bat size by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), guardians of the game’s laws, brings huge relief to Indian bat manufacturers. They feel the recommendation, if approved by the MCC board, will not just end the madness in the market but also in the game.
“From the manufacturing point of view, it will make life easier for us,” Paras Anand, director of Sanspareils Greenlands, told HT. “Because expectations in the market are high. Whether he is an international athlete or a player at club level, they want 40mm plus bats. If there is a restriction, it would be easier to manufacture bats because availability of fat wood logs needed to make such bats is very limited in India.”
After its two-day World Cricket Committee meeting in Mumbai, the MCC has recommended that the width of the edge of a bat should be restricted to a maximum of 40mm and the depth to a maximum of 67mm.
If approved, players have to reduce the size of their bats from October 1, 2017.
“Following the IPL, everyone wants to play with fat bats and the demand in the market has become a headache,” Rakesh Mahajan, director of bat-makers BDM, said. “This is not only good news for our industry, but also for the game. These bats have created an imbalance in the game. Earlier, spinners used to get thrashed; now it’s become easy to even hit the best pace bowler of the world out of the ground.”
There has been a long-standing demand to address this issue as many international players are using bats with edge having a thickness of up to 50mm and a 70mm spine.
Bats with thicker edges usually have a larger sweet spot, the six-inch area of the bat’s lower centre that ensures a player hits the ball perfectly.
Ten years ago, players used bats with edges whose thickness was between 32-35mm.
In June 2015, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee received a research paper from MCC with scientific and statistical evidence that bats have become more potent in recent years due to larger sweet spots.
The IPL 2016 saw 638 sixes hit and over 6,400 runs scored in boundaries.
Cricketers select bats according to the format. Dhoni has bats weighing between 1,250-1,300gm for T20 cricket. Kohli prefers a 1,180gm bat while Rohit Sharma used 1,170gm bat in the IPL.