The Mongoose has made an awe-inspiring IPL debut thanks to Matthew Hayden, and there may be more volunteers lining up to tame this animal. Matthew Hayden, post international retirement, clobbering bowlers all around an international stadium with what looked like a baby’s brass rattle in those paws of his. Here’s introducing Matt the Bat, now with a longer handle, aka the Mongoose bat.
The brainchild of Marcus Codrington Fernandez, the Mongoose is not easy to get used to. Chennai Super Kings skipper Suresh Raina, who tried out the bat in the middle in Friday, said: “Hayden has been training with it for long and he felt this was the right time to use it. He used it in the nets for two hours on Thursday. I tried to use it but then felt I should return to my normal bat.”
For the uninitiated, the Mongoose is a something of a miniature version of a normal cricket bat, but it has 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.
Delhi Daredevils skipper Dinesh Karthik, though, admitted they had been done in by the Mongoose. The bat, with a 5 cm thick base, boasts a handle 43% longer and a blade 33% shorter. With no splice, the sweet spot is enhanced a whopping 120%, making it ideal for T20 power-hitting.
Its short, stocky frame – the base is reportedly five centimeters – allows for sweet timing and that was as evident as crystal. The first sign that Hayden, after two poor games, was roaring back in to form came in the second over when he slammed three boundaries in four balls.
The first batsman to use it, Australia’s Stuart Law, feels it has the potential to “revolutionize cricket”, while Hayden has dismissed speculation that the bat is unwieldy against quality pace, saying “it will not be a handicap in playing short-pitched balls or bouncers. It has tremendous bat speed”.
The Mongoose’s philosophy is simple: batsmen hardly use the top part of their bats, so it makes sense to take that wasted wood and use it further down the blade. The longer handle offers more ‘whip’, and though it weighs the same as a normal bat, the Mongoose feels lighter because the unique handle offers ‘leverage.’
The Mongoose made its debut in the second ball of the fourth over, after Hayden had already muscled some good shots with his normal blade. He’s has always wielded the bat like a club, but here was Hayden with a big handle and small blade. To the naked eye, the Mongoose looked silly in his bear hands. In fact, at first it just didn’t look right. Surely he would mishit one, inside-edge one onto his stumps, fail to reach out to a spinner, or be caught short of his crease while putting in a dive? None happened.
The first shot Hayden played with the Mongoose was a letdown. He went for an ugly heave and got a streaky single to the leg side. You can’t time a cricket ball at pace with that toothpick, was the common assumption. Then Rajat Bhatia came in to the attack for some military medium stuff, only to feel the full effect of what Hayden and his buddy could do. Bhatia to Hayden was never going to be a key contest, but this was too one-sided. Hayden swept four to fine leg, slammed a straight six, tickled another off the pads for four, and slogged four to long-on.
The Mongoose didn’t restrict Hayden in any way, as you might have expected it to. What it lacks in reach, it more than makes up for with effect. Length balls were swatted over the infield nonchalantly; those that hit the edges ran away to fine leg or third man; two balls that came off the toe end sped past extra cover; those that hit the sweet spot just disappeared.
The Mongoose didn’t require Hayden to change his grip or style, but it did allow him to smack the ball harder and further. It was the perfect remedy for Hayden to strike form and Chennai to canter home. On the evidence of what we saw this evening, its power really is phenomenal.
In 1983, Tony Montana blasted through a door firing his automatic machine gun and screaming six words that went on to become part of cinema lore – “Say hello to my little friend!” Twenty-seven years later, a man who has already etched his name cricket’s history with a pivotal role in how openers approached the game unveiled a small piece of willow that threatens to further revolutionize batting.
Some facts about Mongoose Bat:
- The Mongoose bat has been designed specifically for Twenty20.
- The Mongoose is the most radical change to cricket bat design since 1771.
- The MCC Laws sub-committee has confirmed that the Mongoose bats are legal and allowed to be used in all levels of cricket
- The Mongoose has been scientifically proven by Imperial College to offer batsmen 20% more power and 15% more bat speed than a conventional bat
- The Mongoose allows you to hit harder & further without changing the way you play
- The Mongoose’s blade is 33% shorter and its handle 43% longer than a conventional bat
- The splice, usually located in the blade of the bat, is incorporated in the handle, which ensures there is no dead spot in the hitting area of the bat
- The Mongoose is the invention of Marcus Codrington Fernandez, former Global Creative Director for one of the biggest advertising networks in the world