April 25, 2014

Can we do something about monster bats?

Modern bats are getting chunkier by the day, while not getting much more heavy. This gives batsmen an unfair advantage
98

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Recently I had the opportunity to commentate on the India-Pakistan Asia Cup match in Mirpur, Dhaka. As I wandered onto the field for my pre-match duties, I stumbled across a bat lying on the ground. It belonged to one of the Indian batsmen. I picked it up, out of curiosity, to check the weight and balance. I was taken aback by what I saw.

I have seen bats get bulkier over the years, but this one shocked me because the edges were the thickest I had ever seen on a cricket bat, and the bulge at the back the biggest. It was clear to see that this bat of 2014 was more bloated than the ones of 2012. Wandering around the ground, I realised that most bats were more or less similar. These were the bats of 2014. With every passing season, bats get bigger: bigger edges and bigger bulges behind the face.

So bats are getting more meaty; what's the big deal, you might ask. Batsmen are stronger, so they can carry heavy bats around more easily than you guys could.

True. But here's what's great about these modern bats: they are getting bulkier, but they are still light to pick up.

I think the weight of the bat is not so much an issue as much as the thickness of the edges and the swell at the back are. If bats got heavier as they got meatier, that would be fair because wielding a heavy bat, especially in T20 cricket, where you use the bat like a wand to play all those unorthodox, mind-boggling shots, is not ideal. So it would be a tough choice for a batsman to make: go for weight on the bat for the power, or choose versatility with a lighter bat?

Coming back to that Asia Cup match, I saw the dramatic effect of those bloated bats lying around the ground in that very game. Virat Kohli as India captain made a smart move to have his spinners bowl the death overs on a pitch that had turn. It all came down to the last over. Ten runs to get, with R Ashwin to bowl.

As it turned out, Shahid Afridi hit two sixes to win the game for his team. That's what went into the record books: Afridi hits two sixes off Ashwin and Pakistan beat India in a nail-biter in the Asia Cup. But if you looked at it with a cricketing eye, here is what really happened. Ashwin bowled two good deliveries, on which Afridi mistimed two lofted shots. Both times the ball did not hit the middle of Afridi's bat - it was well away from the sweet spot - but it still sailed over the short boundaries. Those two sixes landed just a metre or two over the rope.

Why did this happen? Modern bats.

The edges are so thick now (two inches or more) that even if the ball makes contact with the bat close to its edge, there is still a lot of wood behind the ball. The thick edges ensure that there is still a lot of body and thrust behind the ball even if it has not hit the core centre of the bat.

In earlier days, when the edges were thinner (about three-quarters of an inch thick), as a batsman you knew you had to hit the ball with the centre of the bat, the sweet spot, or you were in trouble. Even the big guys were conscious of this fact. Now, because there is all that extra wood, spread right across the rear of the bat, the whole face of the bat has become one sweet spot.

Was it fair to Ashwin when with his guile he had the better of Afridi but the design of the bat made Afridi the eventual hero? In modern cricket, bowlers are losing such battles on a daily basis. Why, even Afridi experiences this harsh reality as a bowler.

If someone kept count of how many badly mishit shots are going for sixes these days, the number would be very high. We need to bring it down.

I propose that the ICC places restrictions on how thick the sides of a bat can be, and on the extent of the protrusion you can have behind the face of the bat. I don't care too much about the weight of the bat, for it has its pros and cons for the batsman. My suggestion is that bat edges should not be more than three-fourths of an inch thick, and the bulge behind must not exceed an inch and a half. Before a tournament or series, all bats should be cleared by the match referee and a hologram sticker put on those that have passed the test.

After that, brace yourself for some real fun. It will now be the guile of the bowlers versus the muscles and skills of the batsmen. No more shortcuts for the batsmen.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • McWheels on April 25, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    Continued comment: And while we're talking about balance, if a batsman can choose his weapon, why not the bowler? Stipulate the colour to be played with, and allow the team to choose their approved manufacturer, be that Kookaburra, Readers, Dukes, MRF etc. Why cannot both sides of the game be either regulated or de-regulated? If we have to play with the same ball, then make all batsmen play with the same bat design/weight/size.

    This is perhaps the underlying imblance in the game, enshrined in all playing conditions, but pleasingly not in the laws. It is up to tournament administrators to think, "what makes for a good game?" and allow such flexibility into their boardrooms.

  • McWheels on April 25, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    I certainly appreciate the need for balance between bat and ball, but the idea of limiting the sides or depth of the bat has its own problems in enforcement. Perhaps we should have a bat guage like with the balls? If the bat does not fit vertically through the guage, then it fails. However I still this that is an inelegant solution and we should work our way back along the technology chain to find the right thing to regulate.

    It seems clear that the reason batsmen can use such massive clubs is the relatively light density, but at the expense of durability. Therefore attack the durability element. Give a batsman a limit of 1 bat per 500 balls faced (or whatever is worked out) in competitive cricket, spread over the course of a competition. Like motor racing, if a team player breaches the use of bats (engines/gearboxes), then the team pays a price in points. By driving the bat to be more durable, it must be made more dense and so size reduces.

  • Nutcutlet on April 25, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    I couldn't be in more agreement! Very well argued, Sanjay! The modern bat, especially as used by professionals in all countries, does not have edges; it has sides. And this block shape has impacted on the game in all its guises, none more so than in t20 when any wood-on-ball is designed to result in a ball speeding away in any old direction. And that is why batsmanship has been largely replaced by 'bat speed' - leaving batsmanship utterly impoverished & with the restricted range of stroke/hit as ( it seems to be) is found in baseball. Those who see t20 as the future of the game, an evolution of sorts, haven't really understood that batsmanship can be infinitely varied in its expression. What is witnessed in t20 and passes for batsmanship is what I call cricket in primary colours; it lacks nuance, variety and touch. A child's painting has naive appeal, but it is not sophisticated art. Batsmen should be artists, not lumberjacks. Limit the width of a bat's sides, by law, please, MCC!

  • poorpatriot on April 30, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    very nice initiative.. appreciable.

  • dhmodi89 on April 29, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Sanjay - great read and completely agree with your suggestion. It is mind boggling to me that such a global, popular sport is so backwards and lacking when it comes to "common sense" rules and regulations. I am ignorant to what bat regulations the ICC has in place right now so I won't speak on that, but it seems like they are not strict enough. I remember when a batsman hitting a "six" was a ginormous deal but now they are just dime a dozen. How can you possibly explain to a youngster today what it meant for Jadeja to hit 22 runs of Waqar's over in the 1996 WC QF when that happens all the time now? I understand that ICC is trying to expand cricket's reach across the world to make it more entertaining but as a "realist", it hurts. Major League Baseball has always had bat regulations and the fascination of a home run is still intact. ICC needs to at least recognize this problem and work towards making the sport more balanced (batsman vs bowler).

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on April 29, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    Can't agree more Sanjay. Bravo!

  • on April 28, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    its about all batsmen taking advantage of chunkier bats.. What should have been otherwise a skier to mid-on has now started to go over the park with ease.. Even the so called miscued hits manage to clear the boundary quite convincingly.Although its an improvement in terms of giving a meaty area, even some one like an Ab devilliers or a glenn wouldnt go for the reverse hit if he knows that the ball wont meet what would be the mid of the blade(if the bats werent chunkier).having said that its a bit over balanced in batsmen's favor and it still remains so only in the shorter format.In test cricket you dont see rash shots played often, and respect is being given to the bowlers and the red ball.Just like how durable bats are being made, efforts should be taken to make the red ball equivalent in the white ball.That will swing the balance again.

  • on April 27, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    absolutely there needs to be some bat size regulations. nobody will complain much.

  • on April 27, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Great insightful comments by Sanjay. I'd love to see this happen!

  • on April 26, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    and also the fact virat koholi had such a successful t-20 wc, asia cup n his form....NOW do u again say its because of bat.. i dont think bringing afridi and ashwin here makes any thing good ...... also both team had same facilities so it was a fair challenge.... the only problem here bcoz of this bat is for rising players who cant afford such expensive bats ..its unfair for them to deliver good runs with old aged bat while their competitors will use this modern bat...for player from rising country like nepal ....other than that its the use of technology to get rid of the big weight staying under the rule of ICC...remember ganguly was fined for using boarder bat and sachin was not fined for heavier big thick edged bat... the game has changed ...now players has to hit every ball as there are only 120 ball for an inning ...

  • McWheels on April 25, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    Continued comment: And while we're talking about balance, if a batsman can choose his weapon, why not the bowler? Stipulate the colour to be played with, and allow the team to choose their approved manufacturer, be that Kookaburra, Readers, Dukes, MRF etc. Why cannot both sides of the game be either regulated or de-regulated? If we have to play with the same ball, then make all batsmen play with the same bat design/weight/size.

    This is perhaps the underlying imblance in the game, enshrined in all playing conditions, but pleasingly not in the laws. It is up to tournament administrators to think, "what makes for a good game?" and allow such flexibility into their boardrooms.

  • McWheels on April 25, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    I certainly appreciate the need for balance between bat and ball, but the idea of limiting the sides or depth of the bat has its own problems in enforcement. Perhaps we should have a bat guage like with the balls? If the bat does not fit vertically through the guage, then it fails. However I still this that is an inelegant solution and we should work our way back along the technology chain to find the right thing to regulate.

    It seems clear that the reason batsmen can use such massive clubs is the relatively light density, but at the expense of durability. Therefore attack the durability element. Give a batsman a limit of 1 bat per 500 balls faced (or whatever is worked out) in competitive cricket, spread over the course of a competition. Like motor racing, if a team player breaches the use of bats (engines/gearboxes), then the team pays a price in points. By driving the bat to be more durable, it must be made more dense and so size reduces.

  • Nutcutlet on April 25, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    I couldn't be in more agreement! Very well argued, Sanjay! The modern bat, especially as used by professionals in all countries, does not have edges; it has sides. And this block shape has impacted on the game in all its guises, none more so than in t20 when any wood-on-ball is designed to result in a ball speeding away in any old direction. And that is why batsmanship has been largely replaced by 'bat speed' - leaving batsmanship utterly impoverished & with the restricted range of stroke/hit as ( it seems to be) is found in baseball. Those who see t20 as the future of the game, an evolution of sorts, haven't really understood that batsmanship can be infinitely varied in its expression. What is witnessed in t20 and passes for batsmanship is what I call cricket in primary colours; it lacks nuance, variety and touch. A child's painting has naive appeal, but it is not sophisticated art. Batsmen should be artists, not lumberjacks. Limit the width of a bat's sides, by law, please, MCC!

  • poorpatriot on April 30, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    very nice initiative.. appreciable.

  • dhmodi89 on April 29, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Sanjay - great read and completely agree with your suggestion. It is mind boggling to me that such a global, popular sport is so backwards and lacking when it comes to "common sense" rules and regulations. I am ignorant to what bat regulations the ICC has in place right now so I won't speak on that, but it seems like they are not strict enough. I remember when a batsman hitting a "six" was a ginormous deal but now they are just dime a dozen. How can you possibly explain to a youngster today what it meant for Jadeja to hit 22 runs of Waqar's over in the 1996 WC QF when that happens all the time now? I understand that ICC is trying to expand cricket's reach across the world to make it more entertaining but as a "realist", it hurts. Major League Baseball has always had bat regulations and the fascination of a home run is still intact. ICC needs to at least recognize this problem and work towards making the sport more balanced (batsman vs bowler).

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on April 29, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    Can't agree more Sanjay. Bravo!

  • on April 28, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    its about all batsmen taking advantage of chunkier bats.. What should have been otherwise a skier to mid-on has now started to go over the park with ease.. Even the so called miscued hits manage to clear the boundary quite convincingly.Although its an improvement in terms of giving a meaty area, even some one like an Ab devilliers or a glenn wouldnt go for the reverse hit if he knows that the ball wont meet what would be the mid of the blade(if the bats werent chunkier).having said that its a bit over balanced in batsmen's favor and it still remains so only in the shorter format.In test cricket you dont see rash shots played often, and respect is being given to the bowlers and the red ball.Just like how durable bats are being made, efforts should be taken to make the red ball equivalent in the white ball.That will swing the balance again.

  • on April 27, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    absolutely there needs to be some bat size regulations. nobody will complain much.

  • on April 27, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Great insightful comments by Sanjay. I'd love to see this happen!

  • on April 26, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    and also the fact virat koholi had such a successful t-20 wc, asia cup n his form....NOW do u again say its because of bat.. i dont think bringing afridi and ashwin here makes any thing good ...... also both team had same facilities so it was a fair challenge.... the only problem here bcoz of this bat is for rising players who cant afford such expensive bats ..its unfair for them to deliver good runs with old aged bat while their competitors will use this modern bat...for player from rising country like nepal ....other than that its the use of technology to get rid of the big weight staying under the rule of ICC...remember ganguly was fined for using boarder bat and sachin was not fined for heavier big thick edged bat... the game has changed ...now players has to hit every ball as there are only 120 ball for an inning ...

  • on April 26, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    I am sure if india has won this game an indian batsman would have hit the sixes against Paki boelers, I am sure Sanjay would not have written this article but since Pakistan beat india sanjay got very technical with his pen....whether it was a good or a bad ball, short field whatever it was credit goes to afridi to do what he does best. hit the balls out of the ball park.

  • on April 26, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    what is the problem? its like using science to get a better bat as sanjaya himself said they could use as big edged bat as he showed only it to be heavy they decided against it... so now with the development in technology and physics they made a bigger bat with light weight to help batsmans....and also the fact that now batsman are expected to hit every time they bat as they play shorter version of cricket unlike in 1996 ..it is all well balanced for me...

  • on April 26, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Another equally fair option to level the game would be - the batsman gets to carry his own bat and play with it - let the bowlers carry their own balls, only fair. Just as a batsman can bring in a bat customised to allow him to play his own shots, allow bowlers to bring in their own balls - Just as bats are controlled by dimension rules, balls should also be controlled only by dimension rules....Also - batsmen do not need umpire's permission to change their bat if the bat does not work for them....why then should the bowler need to ask the umpire ? Just a batsman can change his tool of trade (bat) if it does not suit his mood of the moment, the bowler should be allowed to change his tool of trade (ball). Level the game rules out.

  • on April 26, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    well said sanjay,every weekend there is a rule change that goes in favour of the batsmen. time for something to go the bowler's way.

  • on April 26, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    I recently watched as a ball was edged for 4 through the covers. This is nuts. I'm with McWheels on both limiting bats to avoid fragility and bowler choice in ball. I would add that if a bat breaks then the batsman should be out; the sight of a batsman trudging off would reenforce the message.

  • on April 26, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    You can come up with rules to be followed. A threshold should be set for dimensions and weight for bats by the ICC committee. I think for this to be adopted wont take much effort compared to all the work which is done with respect to stats in cricket which is much more complicated to handle.

  • mjcoxx on April 26, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    Maybe boundaries should be of a minimum size too - say, 75-80 meters from the stumps at either end? A six used to be something a bit special. Now they're so commonplace the number of sixes hit in a tournament can run into the hundreds. What used to be exciting has become run-of-the-mill

  • on April 26, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    But y only Maxwell hitting those sixes & despite Pujara, Kallis & Amla having the facility of same bats fail to hit even a six despite trying ?? The ans is

    1). Horizontal batted shots produce slightly more power bcz of better body balance & low CG

    2). Square boundaries r always some 10 yards shorter than straight boundaries

    3). While hitting straight a lot of force is consumed in overcoming the momentum of incoming ball & only the remaining force goes to propel the ball. But in sq shots no such disadvantage

    Unlike obsolete technique to loft straight Maxwell targets sq boundaries with sweeps reverse sweeps & pulls for sixes. Jayasurria also did this & enjoyed g8 success at 6 hitiing even in the 90's era.

  • ketaann on April 26, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    good suggestion..! I completely agree with you. Balance between bat n ball should be maintain, otherwise cricket will remain only batsmen's game.

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 26, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Very simple. If the bats are monsters, then make the boundaries as Goliaths. I would like to see minimum 80m boundaries so that bowlers become competitive. That's why I am enjoying the IPL so much in the UAE. The boundaries are decent. It ensures there is a balance between bat and ball. Mistimed shots should be caught, not gone for six. Most of the time in India especially, the heavy bats and short boundaries boost up the batsmen's averages. So there in lies the answer to your conundrum Sanjay. Either you get rid of the fleshy bats OR do away with short boundaries. Let the bowlers come back into the game. They deserve it.

  • McGorium on April 26, 2014, 1:16 GMT

    Batmakers shouldn't be penalized for fixing a design flaw. ALso remember that early cricket bats looked more like hockey sticks, so it's not as if the size and shape hasn't changed over time. If someone can use technology to improve bats, more power to them. Somebody spent the effort and time to select the optimal wood variety, and refined the processing to produce an optimal bat. Why should they be outlawed for that? The real issue isn't the bats, but the size of the outfield. Game organizers deliberately pull in the boundaries by a few meters to make the game more "exciting" (read 4's and 6's). There is no law that states the minimum distance from the pitch to the boundary, and there are many grounds around the world, not just the subcontinent which have one or more short boundaries. Legislate it to be more than 70m in every direction if international games have to be played on it. Easy enough?

  • on April 26, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    This is total unfair to the bowling community. As every batsman has their rights to choose their individual bats, every bowler should be able to choose their ball too. Else ICC should provide standard bats to the batsman at the start of the game.

  • on April 25, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    More big hits equals more runs.Runs equals more spectators.Spectators equals more$$$$$$.Pity about the game.

  • ndn_enigma on April 25, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    @Arslan_Javed Tendulkar's bats are heavy... I've held a couple, I know. To have that kind of hand-eye coordination with such a heavy bat requires a lot of strength. What he did on the field in 24 years was legendary and you can't discount that.

  • ygkd on April 25, 2014, 22:24 GMT

    I think we need a reality check with the expectations of bigger boundaries. Yes, it is exactly what I too would like to see in an ideal world, but it won't happen. Existing stadia are run for maximum spectator capacity, boundary ropes dictated by modern safety regulations, and sixes expected by broadcasters. Where then, is the space for the enlargement coming from? There was a good point made in a comment about Albert Trott's massive hit at Lords with a 19th century toothpick. Victor Trumper, too, was known to hit very long. Today's players aren't the best ever at hitting a long ball. The bat regulations need updating. The weight, length, width etc are already regulated. It is time to regulate for overall volume. Restrict the blade in terms of total cubic cm. With modern equipment this is an easy measurement and one that is well overdue. That way you could have 35mm edges if you wanted, but you couldn't have a fat middle too. Or vice versa. So, how about it? Please campaign for that.

  • GrindAR on April 25, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    Oure willows, even at that thickness will break on edges when the impact is heavy... The thing that modern bats carry is, the soaking of resins and the chemicals used to bond them intact and that giving a low resistance top layer, makes the ball scream out even if the effort is moderate. Thats why we dont see that many c&b cases we use to see in 70s-mid 90s. Even pace bowlers had frequent caught and bowled by bowlers. One thing it made tough for batsmen is to do absolute defense... You never know if the ball turns, it will take a longer flight than otherwise, so, it kind of mandates batsmen to make strokes. Who does that with average timing can score handsome... Quality of test cricket fell for that reason as well... Because if there is no contest w.r.t the timeline of the game, it is onesided most of the time... I've seen the low scoring tests are lot more entertaining than a run pilled test, just because there is a fair contest between batsmen and bowlers, half tons decide result.

  • on April 25, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    Sanjay is right. The bats must have a restriction on its thickness just the way we have restrictions on a bats width. Authorities may not have foreseen this, but as with most things in life, some event points to holes/gaps.

  • Alexk400 on April 25, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    if you remove good bats , IPL will be dead. How can you expect midgets hit sixers? Rohit sharma hitting sixers is joke. He is weakest young guy who gets chance to play because of connections. Basically they made differences between weak people and strong people lesser. I think ICC need to fix weight and size restriction on bats. Its like golf , new golf ball , golf clubs improves with technology they able to add rough and faster green and longer course to offset. But in cricket bigger ground is kinda impossible because of fixed setup. You can all rules in fielding but if ball fly out of ground because of bat , then its no use. I would say use red swinging ball. Then it gets even. You need to have risk/reward should be like higher risk higher reward. But there is zero risk of getting out with bat. Even people with no skill able to swing blindly and mishit goes six. I really do not like to watch rohit sharma hit sixers , its like thin guy fighting 20 people same time and winning it.

  • on April 25, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    If batsman can bring his own bat of any dimension, then why not bowlers bring their own cricket balls?

  • Balumekka on April 25, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    100% agree with you, Sanjay! Well argued. ICC must take this matter very seriously. These monster bats kill the moral of attacking bowlers.

  • malharsire on April 25, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    Since shorter boundaries are also to blame how about two boundaries? The current one would not change for along the ground fours and fielders cannot catch beyond it. But To get a 6 you have to hit it farther. Maybe 5-10 yards more. I know some of the "in-the-cow-corner" hits would still be sixes but some of the just over the 4-boundary would get only a 4 (only no catches allowed). If boundary is at the stands then only fours allowed for balls hit over that point. Like ground-rule-doubles in baseball. Will make it interesting if a six (or two) is needed of the last (two) ball.

  • VipinGangwar on April 25, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Good point here. All the high scoring games has made cricket boring. ICC should tweak the rules in favor of bowlers now. My 3 recommendations are:

    1. As there is a standard size of a ball, there should also be a standard size for bats, approved by ICC. There is a term called ball tempering, so their should be a term called bat tempering, if any batsman does not follow the norms or breaks it, after it has passed the ICC approval for a particular bat before the start of any series.

    2. To make the game more even their should not be any field restrictions. Captains can change them according the situation of the match.

    3. Restrictions on bouncers should be removed, or it can be increased upto 4 balls an over.

    I think it will make game more even between bat and ball.

  • Vijay_P_S on April 25, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    @ Allan716: Those numbers are still small in my opinion. They should keep square boundaries at 75+ yards and long boundaries at 85+ yards. Then we'll see all those mishits being caught.

  • on April 25, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    Sanjay this article is more than complaining. this is new era of cricket world so enjoy the game. Respectly Afridi and Ashwin are great players but its cricket anything is possible on the Field..!!!

  • CricketingStargazer on April 25, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    The ICC only limits the width of bat, its length and composition (the aluminium bat was illegalised quickly enough and coatings are strictly controlled). However, it's inevitable that there has been a move to increasingly high-tech bats. Weights have been rising for decades from the 0.95-1kg that was typical before and just after the war to close to 2kg now - make the bat much heavier and the batsman will not be able to control it properly, so the solution is to tune it better, rather than to add even more weight.

    Combine heavier and better-tuned bats and short boundaries with friendly pitches and you will get sixes and high-scoring, which is what T20 is sold as. And the whole idea is that T20 is meant to appeal to a totally different public than Tests or even limited-overs cricket, which it does - it's a whole different public and a whole different game. So, if you try to legislate to limit the bats, you will not be popular with the promoters who need it to be spectacular.

  • cryptq1 on April 25, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    Yes, agree. The only problem is that the modern cricket 'fan' regards it as exciting to see a lot of 4's and 6's. The accolades being accorded to T20 cricket is because of the 4's and 6's, not how close the games are. 70%+ of T20 games are effectively over long before the end of the game yet gets classified as exciting because of the number of boundaries. Will these 'fans' disappear?

  • on April 25, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    But y only Maxwell hitting those sixes & despite Pujara & Amla having the facility of same bats fail to hit even a six despite trying ??

    The ans is

    1). Horizotal batted shots produce more power 2). Square boundaries r always some 10 yards shorter than straight boundaries & max targets sq shots. 3). Hitting straight a lot of force is consumed in overcoming the momentum of incoming ball & only the remaining force goes to propel the ball. But in sq shots no such disadvantage

  • rick333 on April 25, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Great point! Good that some one with weight behind his opinion raises pertinent point. If the bat size could not be restricte, how about making the ball bit heavier or with more pronounced seam so that games is not unfairly loaded to the batsmen.

  • on April 25, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    @uberBadger: The argument isn't about the total mass. The mass distribution and the point of contact matters, because we're not talking about point masses here. The mass distribution in modern bats is very different. Getting an edge is generally bad for batsmen because of the low surface area of contact. But modern bats have a high surface area in the back and edges, making edges less of a problem as Sanjay points out. You are using Newton's second law without considering the mass distribution of the system.

  • on April 25, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    The bat plays the most important part in a players armoury. ICC should in fact should restrict on the size of the bats while the weight of the same is strictly upto the users only. The budding players follow blindly other successful players who use heavier bats. They do not realize the problems one gets at a later stage because of the heaviness of the bats. There are three versions of the handles of a bat. This again is the priority of the players. The present day players use the reverse sweep very commonly. Of course one has to master this stroke carefully. But again ICC should insist that only the front face of the bats should be used for this shot. The batsmen should be penalised if they use the rear side of their bats while executing the reverse sweep shots. So much for the bats.

  • indianzen on April 25, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Thinking traditionally, looks like T20 has changed it too much. Defensive leg stump bowling, Thicker Bats, Mongoose Bat, Wide Yorkers, slow bouncers and many more... But lets think about evolution of the game. Game has evolved from Test Cricket to ODI to T20 so why not the sporting goods ? I would like to see more evolution in terms of pitches, balls and bowling options. There should be a tough fight between the batsmen and bowler to make the game interesting...

  • Arslan_Javed on April 25, 2014, 17:40 GMT

    Sir Manjeraker , ourHero tendulkars more than half of score , and veroo's 90 % scores owes to these thick bats. what you think when Veroo smash fast bowlers over cover for six he used to hit the sweet spot all the time and that thick mass of his bat was not into it.

  • eggyroe on April 25, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    If you look at the Test Match Batting Averages of Retired Batsmen, the top 12 all played in the era of the toothpick bats.This surely puts to bed the problem of modern day bats.Perhaps if all these modern bats were banned then the technique of these modern day batsmen would get better and thus the batting averages would rise.The problem with these modern day slabs for edges bats means that below average batsmen get a thick outside edge and the ball flies into the crowd because of the bat as opposed to the batsman's technique.In 1899 Albert Trott became the only man to clear the Lords Pavilion,he played with a bat a million miles away from the present day monsters,which in my opinion means that these modern day bats are a complete waste of time and money.The guardians of the laws of the game should now crack down on the dimensions of cricket bats and then we can return to a fair contest between bat and ball.This will then eradicate miss hits being rewarded with mountains of runs

  • uberBadger on April 25, 2014, 17:04 GMT

    Newton's second law of motion: Force = mass x acceleration.

    Note that size/volume are irrelevant. The mass (weight) of wood is all that matters.

  • Schahidt on April 25, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    I wonder what would have happened if you gave these bats to the likes of Vivian Richards or Gordon Greenidge.

  • flickspin on April 25, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    @green and gold

    i think your idea of giving bowlers more overs is a great idea

    5 overs per bowler in 20/20

    and 13 overs per bowler in 1 dayers

    it would make the game far more exciting in the middle overs of a 1 dayer

    the only weakness is that all rounders wont be picked,

    which is a good thing if the all-rounder is paul collingwood or ravi bopara who watching them bowl is boring or yuraj singh or joe root who bowl rubbish and straight breaks

    a bad thing if the all-rounder is corey anderson, chris cairns, jaques kallis, angelo mathews,shane watson, andrew symonds, lance klusner, andrew flintoff,ian harvey, dwayne bravo, shaid afridi who can bowl really well and are entertaining to watch

    the balance of the team will change with teams having 7 batsmen 4 bowlers instead of 6 batsmen,1 all-rounder and 4 bowlers, you might want to pick an extra bowler just for insurance.

    as ive said before modern cricket is far more entertaining, than cricket before the gilchrist and hayden era

  • Green_and_Gold on April 25, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    I would suspect that if you had those restrictions then the bat makers would find other methods of improving the bats to get the same results. If you want to bring the balance back between bat and ball then there are a whole range of options. Test Cricket pretty much looks after itself - batsman are less likely to play the big expansive shots but in the shorter format you could lift the restrictions on bowling maximums - say to allow bowlers a max of 5 or 6 overs in a T20. 6 overs from Malinga will surely bring the run rate down. T20 is also the format that is ideal to try different things. You could also just push the boundary back or take away fielding restrictions.

  • MasterPradeep on April 25, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    So far I've been thinking that Afridi just managed those hits only because of shorter boundaries. Never thought about this angle. Bang on target Sanjay. ICC are you listening. Keep doing your work, every time you are impressive with your point.

  • on April 25, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Now we have seen bats evolve, its time to see that ball evolve too, meaning, it very sad to see bowlers not able to have control when there is dew or overcast. May be replace the ball with something which is weather proof. give great swing/seam/spin. It would be nice competetion to watch. I'm a great fan of swing, i'd like to see more swing balls than having a straight ball.

  • Allan716 on April 25, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    Why punish the innovations in design of the bat makers by placing these restrictions. I agree that there is a definite advantage to being a batsmen than a bowler, how about mandating square boundaries be 65 - 70 yards and all long boundaries be 75 - 80 yards. None of those postage stamp size grounds like they have in Auckland anymore

  • on April 25, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Cricket became more batsmen friendly with the start and rise of T20. And if you look at the current rules they are more in favor of the batsmen than bowlers. Sports can't be left behind from innovation. Why can't sports manufacturers come up with a ways to restrict the runs by making changes to the existing cricket ball standards. But than the marketers and sponsors wouldn't like a low T20 scoring game. Both genres of cricket, test cricket and T20 bring out the best and that is technique and innovation!

  • BradmanBestEver on April 25, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    The great players of yesteryear such as Sobers, G. Pollock and the greatest batsman of all time - Sir Donald Bradman, would have done even better had they had a monster bat. Not to mention the protection of a helmet.

  • on April 25, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    The impact of technology in golf reduced the skill level when it came to shot making. Compare golf now to the days when Faldo was king and you see how it's been reduced to big drive/short iron play. The courses became longer to counteract this to some degree. In cricket, we see the bats getting more powerful and the boundaries creeping in.

    Someone suggested making the balls smaller: no chance. For one thing, it would alter bowling techniques hugely, changing the characteristics, and I for one would hate to go for a skied catch with a smaller ball.

    The answer is to reduce the size of the bats as Manjrekar says. At the minute, there's far too much average slogplay being passed off as batting skill (sorry Darren Sammy, as much as I like you, you're a village green hoicker in T20 cricket who gets away with it because of the bat technology, not your own skill). And get those boundaries further back!

  • Insightful2013 on April 25, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I actually cannot see the relevance. Modern cricketers are bigger, stronger and fitter. Also, the point of T20 is quick runs, therefore, batsmen are actually hitting out! It's unlike tests where more finesse, skill and big scores are necessary, negating the hitting out process. The bats are not making the difference, simply the intent and the requirements of T20. T20 bowlers are more interested in limiting runs, so they bowl tidily. Line and length, less deviousness, which requires more skill but reduces control. This gives the batsmen that can hit out, a straighter line, so more chance of contact but then because of incurred recklessness, more chance of getting out. That's why there are so few centuries. Less caution, more fallibility.More spectacular outcomes but increased chances of getting out.. Notice, only capable hitters, note(capable) are selected. The bats make little difference since the recklessness cancels the impact. T20 is about entertainment, big hits are entertaining.

  • Dashgar on April 25, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    Who cares about big bats. They make the game more exciting and in the end if the bowler beats the batsman he won't find the middle and he's in trouble. The real problem is boundary ropes being way too far in and grounds being too small. These bats would have a lot more trouble getting sixes in proper, world class venues with the maximum sized boundaries.

  • on April 25, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Can't use Ashwin and afridi example to make a point. Afridi just slogs.. Some come off and some don't. And Ashwin is a not high quality bowler. Am sure ajmal would have defended it if he was bowling... With Ashwin - it's limited guile ;)

  • on April 25, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Totally agree with you. While I enjoy good hitting poor mistimed shots going over fences is something I find hard to accept. There is no incentive for spinners to ask batsmen to hit in the air when folks like Afridi, pollard can simply mistime shots for sixes.

    That's another reason for inflated averages and reducing balance between bat and ball. Either go with option that Sanjay suggested or make changes to the ball to make it harder to hit.

  • MaruthuDelft on April 25, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Allow bowlers to win LBWs from outside the leg to middle for 2 balls an over. That will tilt the balance a little.

  • yuvi_gladiator on April 25, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    its all in the mind. t20 has given them the freedom now, but short boundaries have a big role in this. batters just go for it when they see that short boundary on the side.

  • kentjones on April 25, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Certainly now the batter has the advantage, or should I say the edge? So why not counteract that by making the ball just a little smaller. It would now become just that harder to hit, easier to grip by the bowlers, the faster bowlers may be able to get that half yard in speed, and the fielders would be able to get their hands and fingers around the ball. I firmly believe once changes are made in one area, like the bat size, then it must be balanced by changes in other areas. In this case the size of the ball.

  • pgandhi on April 25, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    Though I agree that bats have got bigger and pose a greater challenge for the bowlers, good bowlers will work a way around it. Things will get even more interesting!!

  • on April 25, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    Right on the point. Technology is also advanced that they make bats pre-ready to hit and use of modern techniques for pressing has improved it further. Yes, it's unfair for bowlers. All mistimed shots go for huge Sixes. Important that ICC step in and regulate bat size.

  • on April 25, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    Not fair Afridi is hitting sixes from mid 90's

  • MrPud on April 25, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    These bats are great for the professional who is sponsored by a manufacturer but a club cricketer on an average income can't replace a broken bat every season. The modern bat is dried out far more than previously (to reduce weight) and is not compressed either. This seriously reduces the longevity of the bat. Many of my team-mates and myself have recently purchased new bats, prepared them fully before using them and they don't even last one season. Not good enough. As far as the professional game is concerned, the speed of the ball travelling over the boundary has increased so much that it is only a matter of time until a spectator is seriously injured or worse.

  • Hardy1 on April 25, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Sadly I can't see this happening because it's more interesting for the audience when even a mistimed shot can go for six & therefore the ICC will not legislate in favour of this idea. Ultimately the average fan is looking for cheap entertainment, & bigger bats certainly produce this more than the ones that require proper timing. Most pertinently, whilst it is simplistic, when it comes to attracting new fans, the easiest route is by producing cricket where shots are hit long & hard & larger bats will allow for this to happen.

  • on April 25, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Totally agree with you Sanjay. The battle between bowling and batting should be on a level playing field and not one sided as it is today. Maybe restricting the change in bat technologies might not be in the best interests of the game, but experimentation with ball designs, pitch construction and standardization/lengthening the boundary distances maybe the way forward. the murderous assault on bowlers will ruin the game in the long run and ICC must do something about this. The sooner the better.

  • Floydian on April 25, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    The solution is simple. If a player hits a ball over the boundary, per the new cricket law he should be considered out. But wait, they will build such bats that no matter how hard u hit, it will not cross the boundary. Maybe make the ball lighter then. No matter how hard u hit, it will not cross the boundary.

  • on April 25, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    I think the ICC should have thought of this issue a long time. The game is increasingly turning lopsided in favour of the batsmen. Even being a Pakistani, I agree that we would have lost normally given the fact that both Afridi's shots were awkward and not timed well had it not been the fact that Afridi was carrying a massive bat. Along with this I reckon we need to put a minimum size of boundaries as well to bring a more balanced contest between bat and ball.

  • Udendra on April 25, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Only thing to do is increase the boundary sizes.

  • oweniit on April 25, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    ultimately fans want to watch sixes rather than wicket. Both teams are even and any one can use those kind of bats. So it is fair for me. there are bowlers who hard to put away, Narine for example. Still talent, variation can cause batsmen problem.

  • KapilsDevils1983 on April 25, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    Sanjay is right on the money!!! The thickness of bats HAS to be regulated, the weight is not such a problem since the batsman then has to compromise elsewhere! The balance between bat and ball is too askew. Bowlers are not being rewarded for getting edges and batsmen are excessively rewarded for not actually playing timing shots. Several shots that just go for six nowadays are usually mishits. It is ridiculous.

  • ladycricfan on April 25, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Lovely article. Yes we need regulations for every dimension of the bat. Miss-hits sailing over the boundary is not a good sight.

  • on April 25, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    I'm just wondering if these bats are used only for T20 cricket and a different style used for Test cricket

  • MCC_Tie on April 25, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Cricket is crying out for this kind of comment. This idea must be pushed at all costs, bowlers the world over are being short changed... soon we may as well have bowling machines instead of skilled cricketers because modern bats have made a bowlers life a nightmare.

  • Vijay_P_S on April 25, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    For heaven's sake increase the size of the grounds please. On one hand the ball is traveling further from these thick bats while on the other hand ropes are being brought in. It should be the other way around.

    @ flickspin, you are making no distinction between a well deserved boundary and a mishit. When you have thicker bats and smaller boundaries you will have more unworthy boundaries. It is the quality that should matter not the quantity.

  • goabnb94 on April 25, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    I would be okay with the bat sizes, because both teams have access to them so its fair, IF and only if, bowlers get a better chance to compete. This means bowlers don't have to set pathetic fields with almost no men outside the inner circle, and limits to bouncers they can bowl. If these bats are so great, they should be able to clear the field any way, and anybody who can't is not a good enough batsmen to be allowed to get such an easy field to play with. Its a problem when batsmen get away with so many bad shots because fielding restrictions stop the fielders dismissing them. We also need to scrap the one ball at each end, because then spin and reverse swing can't be obtained from the bowlers. Basically, with all the fielding restrictions, these bats just further increase the difference between bowler and batsman. The only fair solution is restrict the bat size, or drop the fielding restrictions.

  • TughralDar on April 25, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Dear Sanjay I totally agree with you and ICC needs to look into this matter asap as the batsmen are playing with the rules and ICC need to create a balance between bat and ball, also with such kind of bats we cannot compare the old follows who played within the limits of the rule.

  • BillyCC on April 25, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    Food for thought: how have improved bats improved batting averages? A normal defensive shot in a gap can be a two, instead of a single. The uppercut off the thicker edge always goes for four, whereas in the past, there was a greater risk of getting out. Sixes are easier to hit, whereas in the past, they would only be four. There's a lot of other scenarios, but in the three that I've outlined, if a batsman plays each of these shots in one innings, they get an extra 5 to 10 runs per innings more than those in the past. Cumulatively, this results in a significantly increased average, all else equal.

  • ygkd on April 25, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Modern uber-bats have already had a profound effect on batsmanship and bowling to the extent that even if banned, the youth of today who rely on them so much may not reap the full benefit in terms of technique from having to bat properly, while young bowlers, especially spinners, will have to readjust from a fixation on economy rates in favour of strike rate instead. I would even go as far as saying that some young players who would succeed just as well with the older style bats aren't even necessarily getting a look-in amongst all the tree-trunk-wielding young hitters that pre-dominate here in Australia. Not clearing the boundary from a mishit should not be a cricketing sin. Totally agree with Sanjay. A well over-due change. Bring it in for 2015 please. Bet it won't happen though. The genie is out of the bottle.

  • flickspin on April 25, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    as a spin bowler the most effected by big bats, i still get a lot of mishits but it means you cant have both a mid on and mid off up, the mishits go over thier head so when setting a field i have a long on back on the fence and a long off 3/4 to the fence, which gives away a single, surprisingly this is not a deterrent to batsmen as i still go for 6's.

    i agree thier needs to be a study of ball science

    have thicker seams( apparently kookaburra's have no seam) say half a cm high, thicker than the sg & duke balls. who knows it might swing or cut off the pitch more, or spin or dip more

    another idea is to have a 8 stitch ball rather than 6 stitch ball, who knows it might swing or cut off the pitch more, or spin or dip more

    another idea is to put weights in the ball( the ball still has to weight 156 grams) so in the cork of the ball thier are heavy and light parts of the ball, as the weights in the ball rotate the ball should have more revs making it spin and dip more.

  • Longmemory on April 25, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    These monster bats -besides taking a lot of the skill out of batting and inflating the egos of sloggers - pose a real danger to fieldsmen, especially bowlers. Honestly, I think its just a matter of time before some bowler on his follow through is struck by a missile from Dhoni or other heavy hitter and is seriously injured. I really think a limit on bat thickness is called for.

  • StarsnStumps on April 25, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    A very nice piece with a valid concern. But I believe that technology should be used in the game to make it better and more useful bats is one such advancement, we must look to progress and to allow the game to evolve further. Rather than imposing restrictions on bats why not use technology to improve the tool at the disposal of the bowlers to make things more interesting? For instance a ball that remains shiny on one side for longer, this should help conventional and reverse swing (although the physics of the latter is more complicated so I may be wrong) or a seam that stays upright for longer.

  • armie on April 25, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    I am someone who is related to cricket retail and am well aware of how the modern day bats work. Although i agree with most points in the article, there are certain inaccuracies that make it all funky. For one, in 8 years in the craft, the only bats as big as 2 inches i have seen are manufactured by one or two manufacturers and they weigh a ton. The modern day bats are mostly around 36-40 mm, with overdried willow and a weight ranging from 2 lbs 7-12 oz. The laminated bats, outlawed by MCC, can be around 45-48mm in around 2lbs 10-12 oz, generally more. these are known as racing car bats and due to the lesser loss of energy on contact with the ball, the shots go longer. Even in these bats, I have never seen a 51-52 mm bat, which the author is suggesting.

    The bat basically have become lighter and bigger by over drying of willow and lighter presses being used. The restriction suggested on bats size are way too old school and impractical. I like something around 30mm.

  • on April 25, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    lets be honet ! its a batsmen's game sanjay ! no body cmes to a cricket field to see bowlers taking wickets ! and nt only a team has an advantage ,.. so its nt unfair to anybody in my view ... bt the bat changing from season to season shud be adressed !!

  • ashok16 on April 25, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Good article. Too many boundaries, pretty soon we will have batsmen playing bowling machines.

  • flickspin on April 25, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    i strongly disagree with this article

    you should never put restrictions on skill.

    in the modern game thier are more boundries, 6 & 4 hitting makes games more exciting, i remember before the gilchrist and hayden era you were lucky to one 6 six a match with totals in 1 dayers of 250 runs, in the modern game a score of 300 is average, and thier is more centuries scored in the modern game

    i myself have a 3 pound grey nicholas colossus, it took 10 weeks to build up the strength to use, but once i built up the strength it improved my batting.

    their is a weakness to heavy bats and that are fast yorkers and fast bounces,

    im 5'9 and 80kg so im not that big and i can use a 3 pound bat.

    if i can use a 3 pound bat with no gym work, imagine what a professional athlete can use, 4 pound bats are 1 to 2 years away

    i reckon the bigger the bat the more entertaing the cricket match is.

    would you want to restrict the skill of gayle,afridi,warner,maxwell, sewag, pollard, maccullum, & so on

  • on April 25, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    @Azhar Babar : That's what being said. It's better if it is well timed and there are many many batsman who time it better than afridi. As far as power is concerned , Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Thisara Parera. Bat speed of Sehwag when he square cuts, infact inzamam once said that he has never seen ball going so fast from point region. MSD also has great bat speed, Kohli with flicks he plays. Chris Gayle, Maxwell , Miller. If Power is more important, let wrestlers play the game. That's what sanjay is telling, bring the balance between bat and ball, bring some serenity.

  • on April 25, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    In fairness on Afridi's shots, he did choose his placement well even if they were mistimed. That said, a maximum thickness does seem fair-these modern bats are simply accelerating the race towards T20 style batting without so much consideration for the greater mental aspects of the game.

  • crazyguru on April 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    it's a major problem in all sports. Only the balls have standards. Not the bats or racquets. Tennis, hockey, badminton all have or had this issue. let's hope ICC is the first international body to regularise bats. Also new grounds should atleast be 75 m and for the old grounds, bat size must be proportional to the size of the boundary.

  • Rowayton on April 25, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Good idea. I was surprised recently while watching a Sheffield Shield game in Canberra to see Steve Smith caught off a leading edge off a spinner at long on. On a smaller ground it would have been six. This is ridiculous. Balls hit straight off the edge of the bat should not be going 60 to 70 metres. Maximum thickness is a great idea.

  • on April 25, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Good article. As usual, all the advantages go to batsmen. When are we going to do something for poor bowlers? I notices Afridi's shots as well. They were not from the middle of the bats, agree. But how many people in modern cricket can match Afridi's power and his bat speed? Please keep that in mind as well.

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 25, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    1) A big thanks to Manjrekar for this article. I had lost interest in cricket after seeing Rohit Sharma hit 17 sixes in an innings. Back in the times when cricket was combative sweet and innocent, Only Richards, Botham, Imran, Kapil Dev and Greenidge were six hitters. The rest bowed their head down and played ground strokes.

    2) Keep up the campaign, dont let it lose steam. Dont drop it after just one article. But expect serious resistance, as the move has been led by Indian bat makers because the organizers have a perception that Indian fans like fours and sixes, not wickets tumbling, so the drive to make bigger bats.

    3) the solution can be two fold - (a) fix the maximum weight/size/thickness etc. of a bat and (b) fix the density of the bats so the bigger the bat, the heavier it must become.

    4) please move the ropes back. It is disgusting to see 50m boundaries.

    it will be difficult to implement these solutions, as Indian fans' gluttony for sixes is now a widely loved epidemic.

  • on April 25, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    This is a very valid piece. If they are changing the bat as well. Teams could choose their own bowl as well. But can't see this from happening because if these restrictions were put into force the hardest hit would be Indian Cricket team. Which is a batting powerhouse, but not so much bowling. And Pakitan and Australia would become worldbeaters again like in the 90's. We were so used to edges, mishits when our team played Australia. Can't see this happening.

  • ksquared on April 25, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    It's a valid point but ICC has other things on its mind mainly how to earn more MONEY. Besides most of the changes that have been made to the game recently have been to the benefit of batsmen so much so many bowlers have become just bowling machines. So it was refreshing to see bowlers have their day under the sun during the recent WT20 yet still we have people criticizing the pitches for batsmen not getting 200+ runs. I would rather watch an even contest where the skill of the batsmen and the bowlers get their due reward instead of lopsided contests where mindless slogging wins you games just because you have a monstrous bat and a lifeless pitch

  • rajkirp on April 25, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Even in T20 format, cricket should be more of pitching batting skills with bowling skills rather than brute force. It is always a pleasure to watch Mahela Jayawardane with his deft touches, square drives, etc. Dwayne Smith's late cut in his innings against RR was really delightful. Six hitting should be a risk. With smaller grounds and meaty bats, it no longer is. I hope we see the changes in future and enjoy cricket the way it is to be played.

  • Robertito on April 25, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Yes please! Let's go back to the days of fair return for good shots and batsmen being punished for mishits.

    And while we're at it, let touring Test teams choose which brand of ball is used in the series. That way we'll have a more even battle between the home team and the away team and a more even battle between bat and ball.

  • on April 25, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    Love this, such a good idea! Arguably this will redress the batsman-bowler balance far more effectively than anything. However, I do think that the big boys should be allowed to wield their 3 pound bats, just understand that they will have to sacrifice a bit of balance for it. Also, standardise the minimum size of 20-20 cricket pitches to prevent edges going for 6 too often. This will allow t-20 batting to become far more skilful imo as batsmen will be able to focus on picking gaps in the field as a method of scoring runs which allows the less powerful, but fitter batsmen to thrive and pick up twos and threes and fours whilst maintaining a run rate of 10+ runs an over. This will also help to add a wrinkle against spinners who will have to bowl without the batsman going after them in such an obvious way. They are not merely reacting to wild swinging batsmen (terrible generalization, but to get the point across), but also those who can pick up 10 runs an over without hitting six runs.

  • D-Ascendant on April 25, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    As usual from Sanjay: a very well-written piece on a very valid point. If only the ICC would take notice of these things.

  • D-Ascendant on April 25, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    As usual from Sanjay: a very well-written piece on a very valid point. If only the ICC would take notice of these things.

  • on April 25, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    Love this, such a good idea! Arguably this will redress the batsman-bowler balance far more effectively than anything. However, I do think that the big boys should be allowed to wield their 3 pound bats, just understand that they will have to sacrifice a bit of balance for it. Also, standardise the minimum size of 20-20 cricket pitches to prevent edges going for 6 too often. This will allow t-20 batting to become far more skilful imo as batsmen will be able to focus on picking gaps in the field as a method of scoring runs which allows the less powerful, but fitter batsmen to thrive and pick up twos and threes and fours whilst maintaining a run rate of 10+ runs an over. This will also help to add a wrinkle against spinners who will have to bowl without the batsman going after them in such an obvious way. They are not merely reacting to wild swinging batsmen (terrible generalization, but to get the point across), but also those who can pick up 10 runs an over without hitting six runs.

  • Robertito on April 25, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Yes please! Let's go back to the days of fair return for good shots and batsmen being punished for mishits.

    And while we're at it, let touring Test teams choose which brand of ball is used in the series. That way we'll have a more even battle between the home team and the away team and a more even battle between bat and ball.

  • rajkirp on April 25, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Even in T20 format, cricket should be more of pitching batting skills with bowling skills rather than brute force. It is always a pleasure to watch Mahela Jayawardane with his deft touches, square drives, etc. Dwayne Smith's late cut in his innings against RR was really delightful. Six hitting should be a risk. With smaller grounds and meaty bats, it no longer is. I hope we see the changes in future and enjoy cricket the way it is to be played.

  • ksquared on April 25, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    It's a valid point but ICC has other things on its mind mainly how to earn more MONEY. Besides most of the changes that have been made to the game recently have been to the benefit of batsmen so much so many bowlers have become just bowling machines. So it was refreshing to see bowlers have their day under the sun during the recent WT20 yet still we have people criticizing the pitches for batsmen not getting 200+ runs. I would rather watch an even contest where the skill of the batsmen and the bowlers get their due reward instead of lopsided contests where mindless slogging wins you games just because you have a monstrous bat and a lifeless pitch

  • on April 25, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    This is a very valid piece. If they are changing the bat as well. Teams could choose their own bowl as well. But can't see this from happening because if these restrictions were put into force the hardest hit would be Indian Cricket team. Which is a batting powerhouse, but not so much bowling. And Pakitan and Australia would become worldbeaters again like in the 90's. We were so used to edges, mishits when our team played Australia. Can't see this happening.

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 25, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    1) A big thanks to Manjrekar for this article. I had lost interest in cricket after seeing Rohit Sharma hit 17 sixes in an innings. Back in the times when cricket was combative sweet and innocent, Only Richards, Botham, Imran, Kapil Dev and Greenidge were six hitters. The rest bowed their head down and played ground strokes.

    2) Keep up the campaign, dont let it lose steam. Dont drop it after just one article. But expect serious resistance, as the move has been led by Indian bat makers because the organizers have a perception that Indian fans like fours and sixes, not wickets tumbling, so the drive to make bigger bats.

    3) the solution can be two fold - (a) fix the maximum weight/size/thickness etc. of a bat and (b) fix the density of the bats so the bigger the bat, the heavier it must become.

    4) please move the ropes back. It is disgusting to see 50m boundaries.

    it will be difficult to implement these solutions, as Indian fans' gluttony for sixes is now a widely loved epidemic.

  • on April 25, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Good article. As usual, all the advantages go to batsmen. When are we going to do something for poor bowlers? I notices Afridi's shots as well. They were not from the middle of the bats, agree. But how many people in modern cricket can match Afridi's power and his bat speed? Please keep that in mind as well.

  • Rowayton on April 25, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Good idea. I was surprised recently while watching a Sheffield Shield game in Canberra to see Steve Smith caught off a leading edge off a spinner at long on. On a smaller ground it would have been six. This is ridiculous. Balls hit straight off the edge of the bat should not be going 60 to 70 metres. Maximum thickness is a great idea.

  • crazyguru on April 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    it's a major problem in all sports. Only the balls have standards. Not the bats or racquets. Tennis, hockey, badminton all have or had this issue. let's hope ICC is the first international body to regularise bats. Also new grounds should atleast be 75 m and for the old grounds, bat size must be proportional to the size of the boundary.