Restricting bat size. What's all that about?

West Indies cricket Kieron Pollard talks about his omission, bat sizes and T20's impact on cricket.


    So I’m sitting and sharing my thoughts from T&T as opposed to being part of West Indies’ squad in Australia.

    It was disappointing, obviously, getting that ‘bad news’ call but I knew from before that I won’t be going to the World Cup. These things happen. I’m not the first person not playing in the World Cup and I definitely won’t be the last.

    Was what happened on the tour of India behind my omission? Well let’s just say that even before I completed my visa application, I had a fair idea of who would be and wouldn’t be in the final squad. But there are lots of other things happening and I am right behind the guys and wish them well.

    Life goes on. I’m a young man, I still have a lot of cricket left in me and that’s how I look at it.

    Despite the omission, I’m definitely not thinking that’s my international career over. No way. I’m only 27 and I want to come back with a vengeance. So for now I’ve got to focus on where I want to see myself in a couple of years and what I’ve got in front of me.

    The break will also help me stay fresh because I’ve been on the road for a long time.

    Size matters?

    And let’s move on and talk about what else is happening in cricket.

    One thing that recently caught my eye was the discussion surround the size of the bats.

    I use a thick bat, around 2lb 11oz. Some of the bats they make now are thick but not as heavy. So we get the right balance against all types of bowlers. For me, yes the bats are a bit different from before but again, it’s always the person behind the bat that needs to do the job.

    AB de Villiers created a new ODI record when he smahed a century off just 31 balls [Reuters]

    You can have a good bat and you’re not timing the ball well… that will get you caught in slips or on the ropes. So you must have some sort of skill in order to use those bats.

    It can be an advantage or a disadvantage. I can’t really say for sure because I’m too young to have used one of those old bats.

    Does the weight hamper my movement? Well, it depends on what players prefer. Some guys like it light because they want to use the wrists.

    Some like it heavy, or bottom heavy rather, so when they hit it, it stays hit. Some want the meat of the bat higher up… like in Australia, where the bounce is different.

    If it’s too heavy, it will restrict your movement if you’re trying to get your hands through the ball as quickly as you normally want it. But if it’s too light, you’ll get your hands to the ball too quickly.

    A lot of people are saying T20 cricket it is destroying Test cricket but I don’t think that’s the case. It has just revolutionised it


    But I don’t think it will be fair on the batsmen if there was to be a weight restriction put in place.

    Still not a batsman's game

    People also say that the recent rule changes have made cricket more of a batsman’s game. I don’t think it has become that. If you have good enough fast-bowlers in the team, having two balls will benefit you for example.

    It depends on the formation of your team and where you’re coming from. When you play in places like Australia where the ball doesn’t get old as quickly, the seamers will be able to continuously seam or, if it’s overcast, they’ll swing it all day long.

    Then you look at four fielders out. Yes, that has tilted it towards the batsmen but a lot of wickets fall in the Powerplay when there are only three guys out, if you understand what I’m saying.

    For me, it’s neither here nor there. What it has done, however, is brought scoring rates up. Now, 300 in an ODI is just about par on any ground. I guess that’s more excitement for the fans.

    Increased scoring rate

    What it has done it forced batsmen to change their approach. When it was one ball, let’s say after 15-20 overs, the shine came off it, it became soft and you’d capitalise on that. Now, we can’t do that. The ball’s moving and seaming right throughout the innings. You have to be clever now in how you approach your innings.

    Me, as a batsman, I’ll try and get in if the ball is now. But if it’s old when I come in, I’ll see out a couple of bowlers and target a particular one.

    What has also happened is that guys have to adapt to all three formats now. When we look at Test cricket, you’d normally score 220 runs a day. That’s it. Now we’re seeing 300-350, sometimes even 400.

    You’ll see guys playing sweeps, reverse sweeps and all those things. You wouldn’t have seen it before in Test cricket.

    Guys factor these things so much that it becomes second nature. So instead of getting bogged down and batting just for the sake of it, you look to score all the time.

    I guess that’s where T20 cricket has come in and changed the face of cricket. A lot of people are saying it is destroying Test cricket but I don’t think that’s the case. It has just revolutionised it. The 220-230 has now become 350. You saw AB de Villiers smack a 31-ball ton. Few years back, you wouldn’t have seen that.

    So I guess it will be exciting World Cup with the changes on the field and in the minds.

    Kieron Pollard is a West Indies cricketer with over 2,500 international runs and 50 wickets. He tweets @KieronPollard55

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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