Matthew Hayden allowed his Mongoose bat to run riot against the Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Whenever he hit the ball, it stayed hit. But haven't we already seen Hayden doing exactly the same with a regular bat?
So, what is the difference between a regular and a Mongoose bat? For starters, the blade is remarkably shorter than the regular bat — 33 per cent to be precise. But it weighs as much as the regular bat. The weight, which is taken away from the top, is redistributed in the remaining half. It bears a striking resemblance to the bat we use during fielding drills.
The bat we use for fielding is a lot lighter than the regular bat, which is perhaps one of the reasons for using it. Hitting hundreds of balls during fielding drills takes a toll on the arm and that's why most people prefer using a smaller bat. Also, since you mostly have to hit a stationary ball, the lack of blade isn't a concern. A competitive match doesn't give you such luxuries.
A first look at the Mongoose bat made me believe that the bowlers would easily get through under the bat. Bowling yorkers would prove to be an easy way to get rid of the dangerous man. Perhaps, even the Delhi bowlers thought along similar lines and bowled yorkers. But Hayden had it all planned.
Obviously, we didn't take into account the length of the handle, which is remarkably longer to make up for the shorter blade. Looks can be deceptive and that small-looking thing in the hands of someone as huge as Hayden deceived everyone.
Another apprehension that baffled my mind was on how effective this Mongoose bat would be on the sub-continental slow-low tracks. Yes, the bat has a bigger 'sweet spot' but what about the balls hitting the bottom of the bat? But my doubts in this regard were put to rest when I spoke to the director of the company which produced these bats. According to him, the Mongoose bat has three times more wood at the bottom than the conventional bat, which allows the batsman to hit even the yorkers and the low full-tosses with a lot of power.
But the clincher on the Mongoose bats came when the director confirmed that, "this bat is made for playing in T20 and not in the other formats". And the reason for this is that the missing top half of the bat makes playing the short-pitched deliveries slightly difficult. It also doesn't give you any backup in case of uneven bounce. You either hit the ball or run the risk of getting hit on the body. Obviously then, Hayden is willing to punt in order to hit bigger and better.