Every batsman is quite particular about the bat that he uses. Right from the weight, dimensions to the grip, everything is taken care of. In fact, most of the batsmen treat their bats as if they were little babies and pay a lot of attention towards it. For, it is their tool to glory and a mean to showcase their talent.
However, there have been several instances where a few batsmen have tried to do something funky as well with their bats. The ICC has got strict guidelines in place about the design and dimensions of a bat. But there are always some or the other loopholes and here are some instances when batsmen tried to exploit those.
Five controversial bats used in cricket:
1. Andre Russell | Black shining willow
During the BBL 2016-17 season, Andre Russell took everyone by surprise when he walked out to bat with a shining black willow with a pink grip and design on it. He created a huge controversy with this bat. Social media and cricket experts were all discussing if this bat was allowed as per the laws.
Cricket Australia (CA), however, earlier cleared him to use that bat in that game. However, later, it banned this special edition Russell bat claiming that it changed the colour of the ball. Thus, Andre Russell had to switch back to his more traditional bat for the rest of the league.
Before Russell, Chris Gayle also pulled off a similar stunt and became the first batsman to use a coloured bat. His golden bat, flown to Australia from India for the BBL, created an uproar. Many even claimed that Gayle had metal in his bat but the makers denied all such rumours.
2. Matthew Hayden | The Mongoose
Every one of you who followed the Indian Premier League (IPL) from its inception would be quite familiar with the Mongoose bat. In the 2010 edition of the league, Matthew Hayden strolled out with a unique, unprecedented willow. It had a long handle and a short blade.
Literally, every part of that blade was a sweet spot and it was terrific for big-hitting. With this destructive equipment, Hayden smashed his way through to 93 off 43 balls against the Delhi Daredevils (Delhi Capitals now). Just with a mere connection, the ball used to fly off this bat. However, its shortcomings were exposed later on after it became viral.
While this bat was good for big-hitting, it wasn’t great for defending. Suresh Raina, who also tried to use this bat, later switched back to the normal bat for the same reason. Eventually, the existence of this kind of bat became limited and it isn’t seen nowadays.
3. Ricky Ponting | Carbon Graphite Willow
In the 2004/05 season, Ricky Ponting smashed a fabulous double century at Sydney against Pakistan. However, he invited a massive controversy with the willow that he used for this game. There was a thin carbon graphite strip that was attached to the back of this willow.
Concerns were raised immediately and the MCC also took it to the ICC claiming that the strip added extra power to the bat which was advantageous to the batsman. Therefore, this willow was reviewed carefully. Every minute detail about the blade was considered and later it was decided that it was illegal to use such equipment.
They also rejected two other Kookaburra bats, the Beast and the Genesis Hurricane which also had brightly coloured graphite strips. It was claimed that these willows broke the laws of bat enhancements. Thus, Ricky Ponting couldn’t use this special willow anymore.
4. Dennis Lillee | Aluminium Bat
Of all the willows that were used, this willow used by Dennis Lillee has to be right up amongst the most controversial ones. In the first Test of Ashes in 1979, Australia was at 232/8 at the close of play on Day-1. Dennis Lillee was unbeaten on 11. When he came out to bat the next day, he surprised one and all.
He did the same once before in a game after West Indies just a few days before this incident and there were no questions raised. However, on this occasion, it went wrong after just four deliveries. He drove one down the ground and picked up a three. Meanwhile, England skipper Mike Brearley expressed his reservations against the use of this bat.
He said that it was damaging the ball and the play was interrupted time and again. Australian captain Greg Chappell decided to enter the ground himself and hand over Dennis Lillee a wooden bat. In disgust, the fast bowler threw away the aluminium bat and resumed his innings.
5. Thomas White | Wide blade
A long way before international cricket came into existence, in 1771, Thomas White came up with a genius idea breaching the rules of the game. This was possibly the first instances that created controversy about a cricket bat. White, back then, walked out with a bat that was wide enough to cover the entire stumps.
His idea was to block every ball and not to get out. In this match between Chertsey and Hambleton, the Hambleton players had no other option but to protest the use of such bat led by pacer fast bowler Thomas Brett. Later Hambleton skipper and all-rounder Richard Nyren, leading bowler and batsman John Small signed a petition, which led to a change in the Laws of Cricket.
It was decided that the maximum width of the face should be only four-and-a-quarter inches. Thomas White received criticism from all around for his poor sportsmanship. His team, Chertsey, lost the game eventually by one run.
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