The cricket bat has been a hot topic of discussion for quite some time now. With the balance between the bat and the ball fading away massively, a lot of factors were termed as the culprits behind this development. The thickness of the bat was another major factor which was being discussed by the pioneers of the game. It is clear that bats with thick and chunky edges give a clear advantage to batsmen.
As a consequence of batting with a bat that has thick edges, even if the ball hits the edge of the bat, it can travel a long distance. This was said to be really cruel for the bowlers. Even a good short pitched ball which would have the batsman in trouble could be hit for a six over fine leg if it came in contact with the thick edge of the bat. Just feel the agony of the bowler, who has delivered a fantastic bouncer, only to see it dispatched to the fine leg boundary off a mistimed shot!
As a matter of fact, greats of the game such as Rahul Dravid and Ian Chappell too were harsh on bats with thick edges. Their anger was justified as the game was drifting in the favour of the batsmen. According to some greats, the bowlers could become an endangered species if the bats continued to have thick edges.
Now however, due to the sheer brilliance of students from the Indian Institute of Technology, there seems to some respite for the bowlers. The students of IIT Bombay have designed a bat which doesn’t have thick edges and this is likely to be beneficial to the game of cricket in the long run.
Scientifically speaking, as per the MCC rules bat face cannot be wider than 10.8 cm. Just take into consideration if the back of the bat remained at its maximum width of 10.8 cm and the front was made narrower by 0.75 cm on either side. If the ball now hits the slanted edge, it won’t travel as far back as it would off a normal bat edge. Now that is some excellent innovation for starters.
The most interesting part about the bat is that the MCC can’t find a flaw with the bat under the laws as they stand, but this innovation has forced it to tighten the law. It has now stipulated that the face of the bat cannot be narrower than 8.8 cm, which means the slant cannot be more than 1 cm on either side.
Mirik Gogri, one of the brains behind the innovation of the bat says, “When an edge hits a normal bat, the only direction a force acts on it is perpendicular. In this case [with the tapered edge] that force is slightly forward and slightly downward. This is not a huge directional change, mind you, but it can be the difference between the ball carrying and not carrying.” “When the air hits a normal bat it flows in a turbulent fashion,” he says. “With our bat obviously there is turbulence, but it eases through.”
Gogri and his friends came up with this idea while team India was being whitewashed by England and Australia in 2011 and 2011/12. The group saw the batsmen being dismissed off thick edges and looked for a solution. This is how they landed up making the new product
The initial tests done on the bat have been successful. Two batsmen have tried it in professional cricket, and they are in awe of the product. The batsmen say that the bat helps them to increase their bat speed.
If things go according to plan, then a major revolution in batting awaits us!