March 22, 2010

Indian Premier League

What makes the Mongoose bat effective

Aakash Chopra

"That small-looking thing in the hands of someone as huge as Hayden deceived everyone" © Mongoose

Matthew Hayden allowed his Mongoose bat to run a riot against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozshah Kotla. Whenever he hit the bat, it stayed hit. But haven’t we already seen Hayden doing exactly the same thing with a regular bat? So what is really the difference between a regular and a Mongoose bat? For starters the blade is remarkably shorter than the regular bat, in fact, 33% shorter to be precise. But it weighs exactly 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. That bat 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.

My 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 deceiving and that small-looking thing in the hands of someone as huge as Hayden deceived everyone.

Another thing that baffled me was how effective this bat would be on the slow and low subcontinent tracks. Yes, the bat has a bigger sweet spot but what about the balls hitting the bottom of the bat? But my doubts were put to rest when I spoke to the director of the company which produces 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. And it was visible on Friday.

The Mongoose bat not only gives you more control over the willow but also increases your bat speed. The bat speed comes in quite handy when you’re trying to play an aggressive shot.

But the clincher came when the director confirmed the bat is made for playing in Twenty20 cricket and not in the other formats. And the reason for this is the missing top half of the bat makes playing the short-pitched deliveries slightly difficult. It also doesn’t give you any back-up 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.

Also this bat is not for the people who bank on using the pace of the ball. Hayden’s batting wagon wheel showed that no runs were scored behind point on the off side which suggests that if you have a Mongoose bat in your hands that’s not the area you should be targeting. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to hit the yorkers and low full tosses because not many people are going to provide width in this format.

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Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by Anonymous on (April 4, 2010, 13:22 GMT)

the bat that hayden uses., may be defined as risk,. Itz a matter of self confidence, thatz why other players not tendin to use it..

Posted by Rush on (March 29, 2010, 19:20 GMT)

Man impressed with this mongoose Bat, not all can handle this willow the way Hayden did it the other day, he still one of the best I've ever seen. He would have done the same thing with a base ball bat on that day with that form. T20 is taking the game of cricket to different dimensions.

Posted by Rev on (March 23, 2010, 22:04 GMT)

Nice blog Aakash! Handled the Mongoose bat in England last summer and wasn't terribly impressed. Feels rather more like a club than a cricket bat!

Posted by harsha on (March 23, 2010, 13:52 GMT)

i think its difficult to play with mongoose bat.though hayden scored well against delhi daredevils i dont remember even a single ball been bowled short to him.even nannes has not bowled one.i would like to see a few bouncers bowled to hayden while playing with mongoose

Posted by Nat Rajan on (March 23, 2010, 13:19 GMT)

I sincerely feel that the first ball duck in the superover was because of 'mongoose'. My dear Matt, you need to try out the effectiveness of the mongoose in less imporatant matches and then after conclusive proof that it is effective, then use the same in all matches!

Posted by vignesh on (March 23, 2010, 11:46 GMT)

Its nice way of putting things together and promoting the bat.... these are all marketing gimmicks...we talk about too much of technical information by saying the weight in the top half of the blade wen compared to bottom half..n balance and so on.... But ppl have to understand these technical things is not only applicable for the bat but also for humans. Each Player in the competitive cricket world is distincly different...the shot selection for the same ball at the same line and length is different... your stands bat grip is also different...you can hit sixes even in a normal bat jus the same way...i appreciate the bat inventor in making into a so called innovative look and capturing attention...i would appreciate him if he could show these kind of smart marketing efforts in other industries too where the sales r bleeding...!!

Posted by Rahul on (March 23, 2010, 9:58 GMT)

I want to knw 1 thing, how do u play a delivery balled at express pace aimed acurately at throat or ribcage with a bat blade that is 33% shorter? Anyways batsmen goes on the backfoot to play these deliveries and even though they manage to sway out of the way of delivery the top half of the bat blade comes into play as 1st line of defence. I would love to c bond, malinga and other quicks test hayden with these deliveries when he opts for mongoose. Even slow loopy bouncers that malinga balls will be difficult to play wth mongoose. On the other hand anything that is pitched up is going to go out of the park. Yusuf pathan who thrives on frontfoot play will love m'goose. But I wont be very surprise ballers around the world will find a way with short balls and slower deliveries (not pitched up though) to get past m'goose. Another strict no no against m'goose is dont ball ur spiners. They wont have much of a chance unless ball is turning square.

Posted by nikhil bengeri on (March 23, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

Well, if we put apart the super over, the bat really seems to have some stuff. N moreover, in the hands of the likes of hydos, symonds, it really looks a piece of chunk destroying things.. But the consistency of the bat, will come to light in the long run of T20 format... So I feel its too early to decide on the bat..

Posted by Hoshang Dotiwala on (March 23, 2010, 8:30 GMT)

The M-bat wud certainly suit a guy like Haydos; especially since he has huge bucket-like hands to use the unusually longer handle more effectively. Also his height will provide him an added advantage in fending deliveries (though with Haydos batting, defensive shots are less likely). Also since Haydos tends to stand considerably outside the crease while batting, he anyways dilutes the length of deliveries bowled at him; hence, bowlers may, anyway, not be able to gain as much purchase with swinging deliveries if they are bowling to a colossus like Haydos. As a bowler, digging it short at his body directly and hence inducing Haydos to hurriedly pull / hook could perhaps provide opportunities to have him lob high and caught (given the shorter blade). However misdirected bouncers could certainly spell trouble for bowlers as it will only provide more opport. to Haydos to wield the Mongoose better. Another potential hitter who can prove successful with this: Andrew Symonds

Posted by sohel on (March 23, 2010, 8:23 GMT)

why shewag doesn't try it!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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