The Mongoose bats are revolutionary and there’ll be a huge rush for this piece of wood across the globe now. It was left to a great batsman of yesteryears, Matthew Hayden, to redefine it for GenNext.
First thing first, it’s legal. All those training their guns on IPL and BCCI can take it easy. The game’s supreme body, ICC, doesn’t find anything wrong with it. Ricky Ponting's Kookaburra bat fell foul with the lawmakers because it wasn’t entirely of wood.
The piece is designed to increase bat speed, so it will help batsmen to come down on a yorker quicker. He will also be able to negotiate the low bounce of a spinner better.
Height though will be an issue. A taller batsman will find it easy to come behind the line of a ball while a shorter player could struggle if it is bouncing above the rib cage. But then, batsmen can always change their bats if a nippy tall fast bowler is marking his run-up.
As for the shots played, a batsman can lose control on a proper cut shot. A late cut though could be easier to execute, or for that matter, easing it over the slip fielders' heads. The sweep shots can be tricky too, though with a longer handle, a batsman will be able to reach the wider, negative line of a slow bowler.
The shorter blade, with the normal weight of a bat distributed across it, will mean better punch and better sweet spot for a batsman. The longer handle will also give him longer reach because of the bat speed. He though needs to be cautious while stealing a single. A shorter blade can actually cut his stay in the middle short!
Sure, there are some issues for the purists to ponder on. Will it make the game all the more loaded in favour of batsmen? Yes and no. I feel not enough attention is being given to the innovations that bowlers are applying to their art all the time. We all have seen how slower deliveries are being used liberally. The widish yorkers too have come into vogue.
The T20 format, which is said to be a batsman's game, has seen some rousing performances from bowlers. Why, in two IPLs and a week into the third, one has already witnessed seven hattricks happen. Somehow, they are not written about as much as stereotype observations.
I must admit though the new Mongoose bat is unlikely to help a batsman develop his skills. He will be able to hit farther and harder, but whether it'll improve his footwork, judgment or attacking or defensive skills is questionable. The jury is out on this issue.