We now know what Sourav Ganguly was doing visiting his bat manufacturer at Meerut. He was only going where his vice-captain Rahul Dravid had been a short while before.
Allow us to explain.
During the recent home series against Australia, Dravid discovered that the 'sweet spots' on the Australian bats were higher than that on Indian bats. "I realised this when I had a feel of the Australian cricketers' bat. The balance of the bat was different. It was then that it dawned that they had the wrong sticks to really succeed here. May be next time around they will sort this out," Dravid told the New Indian Express.
A high `sweet spot' is usually 5" to 13" from the toe of the bat. Bats with high sweet spots are generally used by batsmen who open the batting or by those who expect a lot of short-pitched deliveries. The weight distribution in such bats is higher up the blade and the bat speed is faster. This helps a batsman who loves playing horizontal bat shots - the cuts, hooks and pulls. These bats are best suited for bouncy tracks.
In willows used by Indian batsmen, the 'sweet spot' is nearer to the toe of the bat. This is because the ball keeps at a relatively low height on the dead sub-continental wickets.
The Indian vice-captain had managed to find from the Australians that they, like him, got their bats from Meerut. So at the end of the Sri Lankan tour he quietly flew into the batmaking capital of the cricket world and had three bats with higher 'sweet spots' made, as they would suit him better on the bouncy tracks in South Africa.
"I had three bats made. I am using with them also in the nets. But until now, I still am not comfortable with the balance and the flow," he told the paper.
Ganguly, a touch player and hence someone who needs to ensure that the ball hits the `sweet spot' more often than not, also reportedly followed Dravid's example. The results of the two men's quest for `sweet'ness will only be known in South Africa. For now, let us, for a change, toast a sweet and thinking Indian cricketer.