When Australia played their last Test at home against England at Sydney Cricket Ground in January this year, Mitchell Johnson’s last ball of his first over clocked 148kmph. England left-hand opener Michael Carberry was clueless. Mid-way into the fourth over Carberry was gone. When India take on the hosts in the first Test from Tuesday, they will be up against similar ‘aggression’ from the left-arm quick and the rest of the Aussie pace battery.
To counter that most of our top batsman landed in Australia with slightly modified bats in their kitbags. Bat manufacturers have provided them with lighter bats for better handling and ‘pick-up’.
“Batsman will find it easier to handle the lighter bats. While playing in India and in the subcontinent, we use bulk of the weight towards the bottom of the bat. But for the tour Down Under, we have reduced that bulge on the back of the blade and brought it up more towards the middle and top part of the bat,” Jatin Sarin, managing director of bat manufacturer SS told HT. “If the pick-up of the bat is good, it is easier for a batsman to play a ball which is climbing up on him at good pace.”
Stars like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan use sponsor stickers on their blades but the bats are supplied by companies like SS, SG and BDM.
Most Indian batsman use bats weighing between 1150 and 1200 grams when they play in the subcontinent. Sachin Tendulkar though used a much heavier bat weighing over 1300gms. But he too used to reduce the weight of his bat by around 30gms on tours of Australia. Dhoni also plays with a heavy bat in the subcontinent but carries lighter ones to Australia.
“This time also they will use 20 to 30gm lighter bats. Pitches are faster there and the bounce is higher. It is different from England where the ball swings throughout the day. In Australia, the biggest challenge is to tackle the balls rising from just shy of length,” Paras Anand, director of SG, said. “If the bat is lighter, it is easier for a batsman to manoeuvre and make last minute adjustments against a ball coming at him 10 to 15km faster and rising two to three feet higher than in Indian conditions”.