Saturday, August 24, 2013

Watching the cricket talk

I've got the cricket coverage on at the moment and it's sparking a few thoughts.

There's no play, they're talking among themselves because it's raining. This can sometimes be far more interesting than the actual play. (Especially in the current game because it's a 5 day revenue pitch)

The current chat is on bats ... The bat is the most important piece of kit in cricket, at least in terms of something you'll keep around for ages and it'll make a real difference to how you play in a game.

The ball matters too, a bowler will like a hard ball because it does more for them. In nets, I used to pick up the hardest ball I could find and then use that. It didn't have to be Shiny, I'd make it shiny over 10 minutes practice and make it swing round corners. But you don't provide your own match balls and they don't last that long. They make a difference - but you don't keep them.

Here's a pic of some of my bats :
Oh and there's a knocking in hammer and bat gripping tool there too.

The Sky boys have been talking bats this morning and it's actually been interesting. Bats have gotten bigger over the years but they've also changed. One way of getting them bigger has also made them more delicate. They have different thicknesses and different shapes.

I'm not going to say much about bats but I will say a few things :

The modern bat is definitely far more delicate. Of the 3 in the pic, I had the bottom one at school and bought the V500 (middle) in maybe 2000. I got the V1 (top) and ditched it after half a season because it was getting cratered (partly due to my ineptness with it).

You can see how old that bare bat is ... it drank a lot of Linseed oil over the years and I took the labels off because they were getting grotty. It's a Duncan Fearnley bat that gave me many, many years of good service, although a few of those were interrupted by me not finding teams while bouncing round the country and because I had a few forced years off due to tearing up my shoulder.

We customise our kit. The bare bat has a red and black handle because I'd removed the half grip that I put in my bats so I could put it in the new one. Bigger handles make the "feel" of a bat better, I used 2 and a half grips to make mine feel right. Clive Lloyd (a West Indian Legend) used 7.

The feel of our bats was very important. If you're in a sports shop that still lives up to the name, you may see cricketers playing shadow shots with the bats. We're checking out the weight and balance. We want to be One With Our Bat. It's no good if the bat can potentially hit the ball 5 yards further if you always mis hit due to being a fraction late or early all the time.

That's the problem with the newest bat - I stopped using it because I could never get the timing right. That's probably why it looks cratered to be honest. Although it also had a protector thingy at the bottom, which would have only achieved me getting run out. If you tried to slide that bat, it would stop and dig a hole. There was no way to make it slide.

I've rabbitted a lot there.

It's the most important piece of kit we have, we get attached to our bats. But before I close, 2 more pics :

That's the original V12 bat. It's a bit different, the weight is all concentrated in that chunk near the bottom. We had someone at school with one of these.

It was a beast.

Even weedy me could knock it a long way with this and I Wanted One. Trouble is, they came heavy and my arms wouldn't last long with it. Plus as an opening bat (when I got there), I needed to be quick and a heavy bat slowed me down.

The modern V12 is a pale shadow of the original legend. It's normal. Why get it then if it's just pretending to be the legend ?

The last pic is one from ages ago. It's a piece of linen maybe 30 years old that hangs up in my living room :
The laws of cricket are very simple, when you're just going by the important ones :-)

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