Delhi v Chennai, IPL 2010, Delhi March 19, 2010

Hayden unveils Mongoose in style

Watching Hayden bludgeon both pace and spin around the park, you cannot help but wonder - will the Mongoose make its way onto the international scene?
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File under "Sights I Never Expected to See": Matthew Hayden, post international retirement, clobbering bowlers all around an international stadium with what looked like a baby's brass rattle in those paws of his. Here's introducing Matt the Bat, now with a longer handle, aka the Mongoose bat.

For the uninitiated, the Mongoose is a something of a miniature version of a normal cricket bat, but it has two distinguishing features: the handle is as long as the blade and the splice, which normal bats have in the blade, is built into that handle to guarantee a clean hitting surface on the bat. Its USP - if you've been following events in the build-up to the IPL - is that it essentially allows a batsman to hit harder and further without changing the way he plays. On the basis of what Hayden achieved at the Feroz Shah Kotla today, the Mongoose suits Twenty20 to the T.

Its short, stocky frame - the base is reportedly five centimeters - allows for sweet timing and that was as evident as crystal. The first sign that Hayden, after two poor games, was roaring back in to form came in the second over when he slammed three boundaries in four balls.

The Mongoose made its debut in the second ball of the fourth over, after Hayden had already muscled some good shots with his normal blade. He's has always wielded the bat like a club, but here was Hayden with a big handle and small blade. To the naked eye, the Mongoose looked silly in his bear hands. In fact, at first it just didn't look right. Surely he would mishit one, inside-edge one onto his stumps, fail to reach out to a spinner, or be caught short of his crease while putting in a dive? None happened.

The first shot Hayden played with the Mongoose was a letdown. He went for an ugly heave and got a streaky single to the leg side. You can't time a cricket ball at pace with that toothpick, was the common assumption. Then Rajat Bhatia came in to the attack for some military medium stuff, only to feel the full effect of what Hayden and his buddy could do. Bhatia to Hayden was never going to be a key contest, but this was too one-sided. Hayden swept four to fine leg, slammed a straight six, tickled another off the pads for four, and slogged four to long-on. Bhatia was nonplussed.

Right, so this thing can do a bit, you started to think. But what about against spin, when the pace is taken off and the pitch plays a bit slow and low? The answer came all too soon, as Tillakaratne Dilshan was called on for some offspin in the eighth over. Hayden was back at his furious best: Dilshan tossed it up and the punishment was immediate - three sixes stung Delhi and sent the crowd into raptures. The second was a mishit but still soared into the stands. You marveled at the distance the ball travelled after it struck the blade of the bat.

The Mongoose didn't restrict Hayden in any way, as you might have expected it to. What it lacks in reach, it more than makes up for with effect. Length balls were swatted over the infield nonchalantly; those that hit the edges ran away to fine leg or third man; two balls that came off the toe end sped past extra cover; those that hit the sweet spot just disappeared. A low full toss from Dirk Nannes - and it's for this specific delivery and the yorker that the Mongoose could prove to be most crucial - was sent speeding past short fine leg.

The Mongoose didn't require Hayden to change his grip or style, but it did allow him to smack the ball harder and further. It was the perfect remedy for Hayden to strike form and Chennai to canter home. On the evidence of what we saw this evening, its power really is phenomenal.

Watching Hayden in full flow is one of the more delightful viewing experiences today, his brute force and style elevating him above many currently active hard-hitting batsmen in international cricket. But watching him with that little thing in his hands was something else. Cricket has traditionally been averse to change and innovation, but watching Hayden bludgeon both pace and spin around the park, you cannot help but wonder - will the Mongoose make its way onto the international scene?

In 1983, Tony Montana blasted through a door firing his automatic machine gun and screaming six words that went on to become part of cinema lore - "Say hello to my little friend!" Twenty-seven years later, a man who has already etched his name cricket's history with a pivotal role in how openers approached the game unveiled a small piece of willow that threatens to further revolutionize batting. Talk about creative mojo.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 23, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    A guy like Hayden can simply use this coz he takes the ball correctly to the sweet spot of the bat.Good combination although. I like to see how Sachin,Gayle,Sang,Kallis is handling this.

  • on March 21, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    Haydos n mongoose wat a combination !!! Still lots 2 come from Hayden surely this combo goin 2 rock in this IPL. It was awesome 2 watch the match against DD hopefully he will continue with Kings XI Punjab. Hayden Rock On !!!

  • on March 20, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    Hear Hear !! the MONGOOSE is here - The Mongoose - the cute little bat with deceiving looks when armoured upon warriors like our own Chennai Super Kings' hero Mathew Hayden, works wonders.Well, the ball manufacturers must be already be thinking of a "snake ball" to counter the mongoose onslaught - probably a ball that increases in size as it approaches wicket keeper's gloves or when a catcher is about to grab it or a variable speed ball named "Cheetah" that changes speed as it approaches the bat, or a self-cleaning aka self-shining alias self-spitting ball which would lubricate itself when rubbed hard (no lozenges-rich saliva issues for the likes of Dravid) or a "Chameleon" ball that changes colour suiting background confusing the batsmen or a "piranha" ball that bites in to the willow and castles the timber even through Sachin's solid defence gate or a "wood-diamagnetic" ball that repulses away from the bat and there you go, all dot balls!.

  • on March 20, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    i own a mongoose bat, having used it in australia to be honest im not too impressed by it

    using it in anything other than t20 is problematic, especially when being targeted with the short ball

    i know hayden's bat has been designed with his input which allows for better performance, but using the regular MMi3 ive found that hitting isnt as easy as hayden makes it seem, the pivot of the bat handle is different which feels awkward when driving, although sweeping and padding the ball can be fun

    overall maybe a better player than myself might make better use of it, but my friends and I dont rate it for the average player, especially when not playing T20

  • drinks.break on March 20, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    "What it lacks in reach, it more than makes up for with effect."

    Doesn't Jamie Alter understand that the Mongoose has exactly the same reach as a normal bat? It's just that the ratio of handle-length to blade-length is basically reversed (it's a long handle on a short blade rather than a short handle on a long blade). This makes it look smaller, because we don't normally take into account the handle when we visually assess a bat's size. But the reality is that it isn't any smaller - its shortness is just an illusion. All the mongoose is is a revolutionary design that provides greater leverage behind a larger sweet spot. Sounds (and looks) like a winner to me.

  • chakkravarthi on March 20, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    I have read all the comments and it only goes to prove how stupid and judgmental we can be when comes to something that we have limited knowledge about. We never agree we lack knowledge about something and tend to jump in to conclusions.

  • on March 20, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    MATHEW with MANGOOSE Make it for the CSK...!!

  • Devrajmallik on March 20, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Even raina used it for an over in the middle. Did anyone recognised?

  • sumithocs on March 20, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    Just below the shoulder of a regular bat, on sponsor sticketer, their are some red patches of ball prints.. I wonder how mongoose will capable of defending a ball comes at chest height..cant defend just hit hard na??

  • on March 20, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    one match cannot say mangoose is worth or not .... we have to c the future

  • on March 23, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    A guy like Hayden can simply use this coz he takes the ball correctly to the sweet spot of the bat.Good combination although. I like to see how Sachin,Gayle,Sang,Kallis is handling this.

  • on March 21, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    Haydos n mongoose wat a combination !!! Still lots 2 come from Hayden surely this combo goin 2 rock in this IPL. It was awesome 2 watch the match against DD hopefully he will continue with Kings XI Punjab. Hayden Rock On !!!

  • on March 20, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    Hear Hear !! the MONGOOSE is here - The Mongoose - the cute little bat with deceiving looks when armoured upon warriors like our own Chennai Super Kings' hero Mathew Hayden, works wonders.Well, the ball manufacturers must be already be thinking of a "snake ball" to counter the mongoose onslaught - probably a ball that increases in size as it approaches wicket keeper's gloves or when a catcher is about to grab it or a variable speed ball named "Cheetah" that changes speed as it approaches the bat, or a self-cleaning aka self-shining alias self-spitting ball which would lubricate itself when rubbed hard (no lozenges-rich saliva issues for the likes of Dravid) or a "Chameleon" ball that changes colour suiting background confusing the batsmen or a "piranha" ball that bites in to the willow and castles the timber even through Sachin's solid defence gate or a "wood-diamagnetic" ball that repulses away from the bat and there you go, all dot balls!.

  • on March 20, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    i own a mongoose bat, having used it in australia to be honest im not too impressed by it

    using it in anything other than t20 is problematic, especially when being targeted with the short ball

    i know hayden's bat has been designed with his input which allows for better performance, but using the regular MMi3 ive found that hitting isnt as easy as hayden makes it seem, the pivot of the bat handle is different which feels awkward when driving, although sweeping and padding the ball can be fun

    overall maybe a better player than myself might make better use of it, but my friends and I dont rate it for the average player, especially when not playing T20

  • drinks.break on March 20, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    "What it lacks in reach, it more than makes up for with effect."

    Doesn't Jamie Alter understand that the Mongoose has exactly the same reach as a normal bat? It's just that the ratio of handle-length to blade-length is basically reversed (it's a long handle on a short blade rather than a short handle on a long blade). This makes it look smaller, because we don't normally take into account the handle when we visually assess a bat's size. But the reality is that it isn't any smaller - its shortness is just an illusion. All the mongoose is is a revolutionary design that provides greater leverage behind a larger sweet spot. Sounds (and looks) like a winner to me.

  • chakkravarthi on March 20, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    I have read all the comments and it only goes to prove how stupid and judgmental we can be when comes to something that we have limited knowledge about. We never agree we lack knowledge about something and tend to jump in to conclusions.

  • on March 20, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    MATHEW with MANGOOSE Make it for the CSK...!!

  • Devrajmallik on March 20, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Even raina used it for an over in the middle. Did anyone recognised?

  • sumithocs on March 20, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    Just below the shoulder of a regular bat, on sponsor sticketer, their are some red patches of ball prints.. I wonder how mongoose will capable of defending a ball comes at chest height..cant defend just hit hard na??

  • on March 20, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    one match cannot say mangoose is worth or not .... we have to c the future

  • ram5160 on March 20, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    The important question is how well it will work on a pitch with extra bounce or even uneven bounce. IMO, Haydos had nothing to lose thats why he took the risk. Some of his team mates said after the match that they were not convinced about it before this innings. If u want an even contest, the key is to provide some bounce or lengthen the boundaries. Pitches and boundaries are a joke in this IPL.

  • fanofteamindia on March 20, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    Ya..Hayden's mongoose was fantastic yesterday.I think it is helpful in pitches in India where there is not much of bounce of pace.I dont think Haydos can do the same against somebody like Steyn on the WACA pitch.Also the rules of the game always favors batters because irrespective of the pitch it takes just one ball for a bowler to get a batsman out.We can do away with all the rules favoring batsmen if we can bring in the rule that if a batsman hits a six the bowler can't bowl again.

  • ram5160 on March 20, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    Haydos was fantastic yesterday, but this can only be used in pitches with not much bounce. I think DK missed a trick, he should have asked Nannes or some other seamer to bounce it at Hayden. I dont see how you can cut or pull with such a small blade, probably the reputation of Hayden s pull shot scared the bowlers.

  • on March 20, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    I would luv to see Sehwag with this bat (not when he is playing against CSK though). For someone with that kind of superior hand-eye coordination this bat can be a great boon. For those cribbing about bat-ball competition, should see the bowling of Vaas, Malinga & hatricks of Yuvi (two last season) and Praveen Kumar in this format. IF the bowler is smart they can still win honors and purple caps. And a number of stunning catches have also been taken and fielding level in most IPL games are significantly better than international games. Modi has finally made Cricket into an athletic sport where every minute packs action.

  • ssenthil on March 20, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Everybody crying for Hyden using Mongoose Bat even Raina tried this bat for a over but he isn't that successful and changed his immediately to the next over. Hyden always has the power to score this runs anyway. There is nothing wrong in this bat since MCC and ICC accepting it and it is within the rules of Weight, Height / Length and Width. I don't think so many Batsman can use it effectively like Hyden since he anyway can hit those sots with his normal bat itself.

  • darkness on March 20, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    i dont think changing the size of the ball will help,it will be difficult to grip.to make it fair for the bowlers i suggest putting 5 stumps instead of 3.

  • on March 20, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    I am sure that Hayden can hit this score with any kind of bat. I dont think Mangoose does that. He is full of talents, experience and power.Some of you talking about ICC rules on this bat and this one should be banned, this is nonsense comment on that. If someone fail when try to use this bat, you wont talk this blurry talks. Be provide straight comment.

  • RogerC on March 20, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    After seeing Hayden yesterday, I felt that he can play international cricket for another 5 years. He played better than any other opener in Australia or rest of the world. With or without Mongoose, he was fantastic.

  • on March 20, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    A bowler "bites" the ball and he is punished and demonised in the name of BALL TAMPERING. Here comes a batsman with some alterations in his bat and gets positive news coverage and marketing in the media !

  • jamrith on March 20, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    No wonder cricket can never be accepted as a major international sport. Despite the aura of tradition and bureaucracy the game does not seem to have any proper rules. How can the bat size, weight etc be changed willy-nilly? Why not give the bowlers a chance by reducing the size of the ball ?

  • zakhibhai on March 20, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    Hayden was clever in usin the bat ..he saw the pitch keepin low n not takin much bounce, then he went fr the bat in the 4th over...watever b the bounce, he knows its gonna b below his waist..so he went fr it n cleverly thrashed everyone....

  • on March 20, 2010, 2:36 GMT

    The thing with the long handle is that allows greater leverage. So the bat effectively acts as a whiplash. Credit must be given to the manufacturers for exploiting a loophole in the MCC Laws with respect to cricket paraphernalia.

  • JohnSM on March 20, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    I take it you're not really a Chennai fan, chokkashokka. If the ICC and the BCCI find no harm in the bat, and it is NOT in contradiction to existing rules, whats the problem? NOTHING3.

  • chokkashokka on March 19, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    I'd like to see Sehwag with a bat full of cork inside of it - call it the "corker"? What mockery of cricket rules - I don't see tennis rackets with unusual dimensions, or non-standard baseball bats - again ICC pandering to the batsman. Joy of watching a contest between bat and ball seems to be extinct. How is this legal - major flaw in the ICC rulebook. You cannot be a swtich hitter but you can bat with this contraption - what baloney

  • Jabs-in-Lenz on March 19, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    The umpire will really have to bend down to give hayden guard with Mongoose bat.

  • MilindP on March 19, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    I want mongoose, hopefully the skills with come with it :-)

  • Uranium on March 19, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    @Jibin and Michael: The laws of cricket specify maximum dimensions of the bat. The mongoose is not in contradiction to those laws. This bat is something that should have happened 100 years ago but cricketers have been unimaginative for far too long. Regarding giving bowlers a better chance, there's two ways do that 1) bowler friendly pitches 2) change the laws of the game (but many of people consider the laws of cricket somehow sacred and there would be alot of resistance to this)

  • on March 19, 2010, 20:23 GMT

    What About a Mongoose Ball. But I liked the mongoose Idea. It sure is entertaining

  • vivek464 on March 19, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    Just bowl a quick short ball, and he will get into a real tangle.

  • ballap on March 19, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    Remember the platinum reinforced kookaburra bat that was banned for giving unfair advantage to Ponting. Keeping that in mind I feel this should be banned as well. Is this some kind of 'BAT TAMPERING'? If Ball tampering is against rules then Bat Tampering should also be against the rules. On another note if a batsmen/bowler has a bad day its doesnt matter what bat/ball he uses.

  • ballap on March 19, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    A taller batsman can take advantage of the mongoose bat because they can get behind the short bouncing deliveries. For a shorter batsmen there are chances that the ball will fly off the handle more often than not.

  • shahzaibq on March 19, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    I think the Mongoose can be countered through short-pitched deliveries aimed at the body... the ones that batsmen usually end up playing with the top half of the blade. Since the handle is longer, batsmen might not be able to go for the cut, or the defensive push, but might still be able to hook or pull if they're quick on their feet. And to answer Jibin_Cr's comment: I think the only restrictions they have are on the materials that can be used, and the MAXIMUM dimensions (length and width only) of the blade. I don't think there's any restriction on shortening the blade, or making the handle longer. I don't see anything wrong with it though.

  • Krishna.mullakuri on March 19, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    MCC accepted this bat.. It is not BCCI or IPL.

  • Adityahms on March 19, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    Mongoose will kill all the competetion.The game at this point is way too much in the batsman's favor.If the Mongoose is introduced, then we may need to think about the ball as well. They can be tampered with or atleast change the shape a little so that bowlers can feel it.

  • Allan716 on March 19, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    @Jibin_Cr: FYI the Mongoose was cleared by the MCC who are the Custodian of the Laws of the Game. The bat was first introduced in the UK and played with by Stuart Law and Dwayne Smith in the English T20 Domestic season. The world is quick to attack the IPL, BCCI and everything INDIAN. The IPL is an authorized league and still plays by the laws of the game. It is only a matter of months before which it will become a regular feature of the season.

  • deoshatwar on March 19, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    i do not believe that the mongoose bat is shorter in length than the normal bat.....Jamie please confirm it.....so actually it should not cause a 'run-out' by being 'short'.....the increased length of the handle compensates for the decreased length of the blade......he is smart enough to hold the top end of it while running.............moreover i feel the total weight of the bat should also be equal to a normal bat so that the shortened blade has more mass or weight and give more power to a shot............i wanna handle it once

  • PabloM on March 19, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    "Caught short of his crease..." "leg stump yorker"??? You all do realise that the bat in its entirety is not shorter than a standard bat. It is the blade that is shorter. In fact, Hayden should in theory dig out yorkers better with it since it is designed to increase bat speed; so, he should get down to dig the ball out even better. The ball to be bowling is certainly the bouncer which I am guessing will be harder to defend - slow pitches notwithstanding.

  • sachinsaint on March 19, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    But how does it work against the bouncer or the short ball directed to the rib cage? I did not watch the game today...but am interested in knowing if anyone tried to bounce him..?

  • on March 19, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    The company is called Mongoose, the bat itself is modeled MMI3 i believe. IMHO it seems alright, nothing too overpowering. What DD did though was offering too much room to Matty to swing his gigantic arms, in which case it woudn't surprise if he hits em for 6 with a golf club. The obvious downside of the MMI3 would be playing short stuff close to the body and topspinners. Interestingly, the long handle seems tailor made for ultra-late cuts over the slips!

  • brighthomas on March 19, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    This is now as interesting as entertainment wrestling! :D

  • on March 19, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    I'm all for innovation and new developments (really, I am), but I'm not sure about the Mongoose. The game is already tipped in the batsman's favour enough, and introducing the Mongoose to ODI's and Tests, without introducing a like-minded innovation for bowling and fielding, will take out all the competition of the game.

  • Jibin_Cr on March 19, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    Hayden had given Mangoose a perfect launch pad...but I dont think this bat will become popular like the normal ones. In between there was some ICC restriction on bats used in cricket...or is it because IPL and BCCI above every rule???

  • Rajesh. on March 19, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    The Mongoose may be interesting to watch in a T20 but dare not try it in a Test Match :-)

  • Vindaliew on March 19, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Surely the ball to try at Hayden with a bat like this would be a legstump yorker? =)

  • Uranium on March 19, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Kudos to Hayden for taking the risk and having the courage to innovate. It could have easily backfired with both Hayden and the Mongoose made to look silly.

  • siva87 on March 19, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Mongoose superb. Hayden superb

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  • siva87 on March 19, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Mongoose superb. Hayden superb

  • Uranium on March 19, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Kudos to Hayden for taking the risk and having the courage to innovate. It could have easily backfired with both Hayden and the Mongoose made to look silly.

  • Vindaliew on March 19, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Surely the ball to try at Hayden with a bat like this would be a legstump yorker? =)

  • Rajesh. on March 19, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    The Mongoose may be interesting to watch in a T20 but dare not try it in a Test Match :-)

  • Jibin_Cr on March 19, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    Hayden had given Mangoose a perfect launch pad...but I dont think this bat will become popular like the normal ones. In between there was some ICC restriction on bats used in cricket...or is it because IPL and BCCI above every rule???

  • on March 19, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    I'm all for innovation and new developments (really, I am), but I'm not sure about the Mongoose. The game is already tipped in the batsman's favour enough, and introducing the Mongoose to ODI's and Tests, without introducing a like-minded innovation for bowling and fielding, will take out all the competition of the game.

  • brighthomas on March 19, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    This is now as interesting as entertainment wrestling! :D

  • on March 19, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    The company is called Mongoose, the bat itself is modeled MMI3 i believe. IMHO it seems alright, nothing too overpowering. What DD did though was offering too much room to Matty to swing his gigantic arms, in which case it woudn't surprise if he hits em for 6 with a golf club. The obvious downside of the MMI3 would be playing short stuff close to the body and topspinners. Interestingly, the long handle seems tailor made for ultra-late cuts over the slips!

  • sachinsaint on March 19, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    But how does it work against the bouncer or the short ball directed to the rib cage? I did not watch the game today...but am interested in knowing if anyone tried to bounce him..?

  • PabloM on March 19, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    "Caught short of his crease..." "leg stump yorker"??? You all do realise that the bat in its entirety is not shorter than a standard bat. It is the blade that is shorter. In fact, Hayden should in theory dig out yorkers better with it since it is designed to increase bat speed; so, he should get down to dig the ball out even better. The ball to be bowling is certainly the bouncer which I am guessing will be harder to defend - slow pitches notwithstanding.