March 18, 2009

Indian cricket

Is India's future being undermined by cheap bats?

Martin Williamson

A report in the Wisden Cricketer magazine says that India’s coaches are becoming increasingly worried by parents buying their children cheap but heavy bats because they last longer. The net result is that children are using equipment too big and weighty for them, with the result that they are suffering injuries and acquiring dodgy techniques.

“If [a parent] buys a bat he knows the boy is going to grow taller, so he buys a bat that is at least one size bigger than what suits him,” said coach Sandeep Dahyad.

With bats made from English willow lighter but more expensive than their Kashmiri counterparts, it is the latter which many go for because of price and durability.

The report also quotes Dr Rene Ferninands, a Australian bio-mechanist, who said that the heavy bats cause serious technical problems as the children “don’t have the top-arm strength to hit the ball … hence they lift with the bottom hand and find it difficult to play straight. And what about the cut and the pull shots? What happens to them?”

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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