March 24, 2010

The astonishing consistency of Hayden

Siddarth Ravindran

The touchstone of a great Test batsman has generally been an average of 50; there are fewer than four dozen players in that elite group. When it comes to ODIs, the club gets even more exclusive – only a handful of players have a mean above 50, illustrating that averages reduce with the format.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that five more runs for Matthew Hayden before his dismissal against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday would have taken his career Twenty20 average beyond the magic mark of 50. This, from an opener (with fewer chances for an average inflated by not outs) and in a format that demands more risk-taking in batting and little scope to see out bowlers as in the longer forms.

In the absence of the injured MS Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings have been derided for their over-reliance on Hayden, but if a team must place its faith in one batsman in Twenty20s, it could do far worse than Hayden, who has only two single-digit scores in his past 23 innings.

The makers of the much-hyped Mongoose bat are probably thinking they have zeroed in on the perfect front-man for their product, the contrast between the hulking Hayden and the tiny bat adding to the exoticism. But this is not a man who needs the Mongoose: facing a 151.8kmh thunderbolt from Dale Steyn on a bouncy pitch at the Chinnaswamy, Hayden (using a regular bat) nonchalantly took a couple of paces down the track and cracked the ball through cover for four. Now if his opening partner, the comparatively tiny Parthiv Patel, is given the new bat, and he starts blasting the ball out of the park…well, that’s the time to buy a Mongoose.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Simba on (March 29, 2010, 13:29 GMT)

I'm sorry but your comment about a T20 with 180 balls is just plain wrong. And you say that there is an added impetus to "crack on with it" down the order as if to suggest that the openers waltz out there blocking? There I've done what I always promised myself I wouldn't do - I got involved in a cricinfo thread..

Posted by Matt on (March 25, 2010, 17:59 GMT)

I'm sorry but your comment about "an average inflated by not outs" is just plain wrong. In T20 with only 180 balls at your disposal the only players with any hope of a 50+ average are the openers. Any lower down the order the lack of deliveries from which to score and the need to "crack on with it" far outweigh the statistical advantages of the occasional not out.

Posted by Govind on (March 24, 2010, 22:56 GMT)

I wonder whether this short Mongoose bat is of same length of the normal one. If this is little shorter that means he could have reached that magic mark of 50 average as he was ran out by inches in that match against RCB. Also I think this short mangoose bat is better suit for flat track with less movement so that cross-batted shots are effective, rather pitch in that match had pace & bounce.... Should have played with the normal bat as it is better to play straight batted shots in those type of pitches. Whatever, the purpose of Mongoose bat manufacturer is surely served!!! Now its talk of the town in cricket arena... Thanks for the article.

Posted by Daman on (March 24, 2010, 22:43 GMT)

The only way parthiv can hit a six is if boundries were 22 yards long !! and thats with the Mongoose

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