November 22 2018
You can’t obviously play cricket without a bat and ball. The ball has always been spherical and though the colour and weight may have changed slightly, the shape has remained consistent. Over the decades and centuries, the bat, however, has seen many avatars before it settled on the current one. Here are 5 of the most unique bats used in history:
This particular bat was used back in the September of 1771, way before international cricket officially began. In a match between Chertsey and Hambledon, Thomas White came up with the genius idea of using a bat so wide that it covered all three stumps. The Hambledon bowlers obviously complained because if White decided that he would only defend, there was no way he was ever going to get out. Following the match, the Hambledon players signed a petition which led to a change in the official rules of the game. Since that match, the width of the bat can only be a maximum of 4 and a quarter inches.
Interestingly, despite the monster bat, Chertsey ended up losing the match by a solitary run.
While playing in the 1977 Ashes, Australian Denis Lillee walked out with a bat made of aluminum. Everyone including his own captain Greg Chappell was surprised, especially when a shot that would’ve ended up in a boundary with a wooden bat only resulted in 3 runs. But the Englishmen were unhappy and they complained that the aluminum bat was damaging the ball. The umpire intervened and Chappell promptly replaced Lillee’s aluminum bat with one made of wood.
In 2005, the MCC complained to the ICC that Australia’s Ricky Ponting was playing with a bat which had a carbon strip at the back of the willow. Their argument was that the extra enhancement was giving the batsman an advantage against the bowlers. The complaint was accepted and Ponting was asked to get a regular bat.
Incidentally, Ponting had a hit a double century against Sri Lanka with a carbon coated bat during the 2004-05 series.
Matthew Hayden introduced this bat during the 2010 IPL and it was supposed to change batting in T20s forever. A lighter bat with a long handle and a smaller bating surface, this one was designed for big hitting. Hayden’s CSK teammate Suresh Raina remarked that “the entire face of the bat was the sweet spot” and several other stars such as Mohammed Ashraful, Stuart Law, James Anderson, Andrew Symonds and Marcus Trescothick started batting with it.
But while the bat was very good for attacking, it was impossible to defend with and once this flaw was discovered, its use significantly decreased until the bat was dropped completely.
Trust Chris Gayle to start using a Golden cricket bat! He introduced the bat manufactured by Spartan at the 2015 Big Bash League. It raised quite a hullabalooas it supposedly had metal inside, but those claims were soon dismissed. In 2016, Andre Russell started using a similar Black bat at the BBL. Opposition teams complained that the bat was causing discoloration on the ball and hence the Spartan coloured bat has been banned completely.