On Sunday (December 29), Afghanistan’s allrounder Rashid Khan used a new design of a bat that Cricket Australia dubbed “The Camel” in a match between Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, the Australian professional franchise Twenty20 league.
Khan’s bat had a depression on the back, which gave it the appearance of having two humps, like a (Bactrian two-humped) camel. (Camels in India have only one hump; they are the dromedaries or ‘Somali camels’ (Camelus dromedarius), which are the more common type.)
cricket.com.au, Cricket Australia’s digital content handle, posted on Twitter: “They call it ‘The Camel’. Thoughts on @rashidkhan_19’s new style of bat? #BBL09”.
In response, @SunRisers, the handle of Rashid Khan’s IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, tweeted, “Carry it along for IPL 2020”.
Using the “camel” bat, Rashid Khan scored 25 runs from 16 balls, including two fours and two sixes. His team, Adelaide Strikers, won the match.
— Adelaide Strikers (@StrikersBBL) December 31, 2019
Matthew Hayden’s Mongoose
The former Australian opener showcased this bat in IPL 2010, when he played for Chennai Super Kings.
An ESPN Cricinfo report from the time described the Mongoose as “something of a miniature version of a normal cricket bat”, but with two distinguishing features: “the handle is as long as the blade and the splice, which normal bats have in the blade, is built into that handle to guarantee a clean hitting surface on the bat”.
The Mongoose bat was supposed to help its user hit harder and over longer distances. On its debut in CSK’s match against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozshah Kotla on March 19, 2010, Hayden scored 93 off 43 balls, with 9 fours and 7 sixes, at a strike rate of 216.27. There were several other batsmen who expressed admiration for the Mongoose’s capabilities at the time.
However, the Mongoose did not catch on. The main reason was that it was good only for big hitting; it was difficult to defend with it. And no batsman ever only seeks to hit every ball out of the park.
David Warner’s Kaboom
The Australian opener defended his use of a bat that was both very thick and very light, saying it was flat pitches and not better bats that were responsible for the perceived imbalance between batsmen and bowlers in modern cricket.
In a July 2016 article, ESPN Cricinfo said the Gray Nicolls Kaboom bats used by Warner were “notable for the extreme thickness of their edges, but they are made of a lightweight wood that makes them deceptively easy to wield”.
Warner’s Kaboom bat “resembled the trunk of a large tree and was as much a Warner trademark as his celebratory leap after reaching a century”, cricket.au.com said.
Dennis Lillee’s Aluminium
Playing for Australia against England in Perth in December 1979, the great fast bowler used a bat made of aluminium.
Batting first, Australia ended the first day at 232/8 with Lillee 11 not out. The following morning, when the Australian batsmen came out to bat, Lillee was carrying a bat made not of wood, but of aluminum.
Lillee had used the bat, created by his friend and business partner Graham Monaghan, once earlier — in the Brisbane Test against the West Indies earlier that same month (December 1-5, 1979).
He had made contact with the ball once in that innings, before falling lbw to Joel Garner for a duck.
Against England in Perth on December 15, Lillee did better with the bat, to which Monaghan had given the trade name “Combat”.
However, he was not allowed to use it for long. According to a recall published by ESPN Cricinfo in 2004, this is what happened.
There was a loud metallic clang as Lillee drove the fourth ball of day 2, bowled by Ian Botham, down the ground.
Greg Chappell, Australia’s captain, was not amused — he believed the ball would have gone for a four if only Lillee had used a conventional wooden bat. So, Chappell sent Rodney Hogg, the 12th man, out with a change of bats for Lillee.
While Lillee refused to take either of the two wooden bats that Hogg carried out, Mike Brearley, England’s captain, went to the umpires and complained that the metal bat was damaging the leather ball.
The umpires told Lillee to get rid of the bat, and an argument started.
After about 10 minutes, with play stopped, Chappell came out of the pavilion, took one of the bats that Hogg had taken to Lillee, and started to walk towards the middle.
The order was clear: Lillee was to change his bat, and play had to resume.
Lillee was upset. He threw his aluminium bat on the ground in disgust, and did not last much longer at the crease. He was caught behind the wicket by Bob Taylor off Botham for 18.
When England batted, Lillee bowled with fire, taking 4/73, including both openers, Geoff Boycott and Derek Randall, for ducks. Australia ultimately won the Test by 138 runs.
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