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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Cricket

New bat ensures edges won't carry, bowlers' lives made tougher
Sanjjeev K Samyal and Anand Sachar , Hindustan Times
August 12, 2014
First Published: 13:41 IST(12/8/2014)
Last Updated: 13:51 IST(12/8/2014)
The new Falcon Blade cricket bat (L) is seen alongside a conventional cricket bat at a gaming zone in Mumbai. (AFP Photo)

In what could be more bad news for bowlers, a couple of IIT graduates from Mumbai have come up with a modified bat which will be lighter, faster through the air and edges off the willow won't carry to the slips. The innovated bat is called the ‘Falcon Blade - The cutting-edge willow'.

Given how the India batsmen had edges flying at Southampton, the news might interest them.

"During our last semester at IIT Bombay, we realised that the shape of the bat is not optimised. We did a few iterations and finally came up with the design for the Eagle bat. Our simulations showed that this bat is faster through the air than the normal bat. Additionally, it gives a downward force to the ball, when an edge is hit, thus potentially not carrying to the fielder," said Mirik Gogri of Humming Whale, a product innovations company, which was started by four IIT Bombay graduates.

The bat has been approved by the MCC.

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Getting the nod
"Knowing that any change in bat design would require legal approval, we approached the MCC. The MCC sub-law committee discussed the matter in detail and approved the bat design for international use. In fact, the MCC committee, on account of our reduction of the width of the face of the bat, is planning to add a new clause to the rules of the game, which defines a minimum width of the face," said Gogri.

In the letter, approving the bat, MCC has stated that it wants to keep a bat at the archives for the record.

The computer simulation by Gogri and his teammates shows a 2-3% decrease in air resistance due to the modifications compared to the regular bats being manufactured now.

On the current England tour, the India batsmen are coping better, but since 2011 it had become a torrid affair for viewers to watch the batsmen repeatedly getting out caught behind or in the slips. Gogri and his friends thought they should design a bat where the bowlers don't have too much of an advantage on helpful tracks.

For an expert view, Gogri approached Rajasthan Royals' coaching staff member, Monty Desai. The coach tested it at his coaching clinic and came back impressed with the redesigned bat.

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Expert view
"Having an engineering background, I am impressed by these IIT students. They shared where this thinking came from (Ashes, many dismissals through edges in slips)," said Desai.

"I like the idea of edges reworked with forward and downward component, it does feel that it will reduce the impact of the leading edges carrying to slips and in fact may get directed squarer and with lesser angle.

"Aerodynamic design for speed and light weight is something that will add value to batsmen facing fast bowlers. It may improve their back-foot game on quick bouncy wickets. These bats are certainly worth trying.

"I would be very keen to see these bats used by top-grade batsmen (higher division leagues or top junior leagues) in some competitive games to get the real outcome!"

Gogri revealed they did three to four design iterations before finalising on the design. The whole process took around a year.

"Our goal is to see the bat being used in an international match, and also being available for budding and young cricketers.

"We believe that the bat has the potential to change how cricket (with regard to getting caught behind wickets) is being played."

Gogri is awaiting the views of top international stars. It remains to be seen how the bowlers look at the modification. The conditions are already loaded in favour of batsmen. In helpful conditions, it may even out things for the batters, but on sub-continent tracks, it will make it tougher for the bowlers.

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