Stuart Law, the former Australian Test player, calls it "a half-brick on a stick". To its manufacturer, Tony Cook, it is "a funny sort of croquet mallet".
Cricket bats have looked roughly the same for at least a hundred years, but the Mongoose is a radically different animal. “I was sceptical when I first saw it. But after hitting with it, I reckon it will take the world by storm,” Law said.
The Mongoose is the brainchild of inventor Marcus Codrington Fernandez, a former creative director at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. When he was forced out of the office by a stroke, Codrington Fernandez spent a couple of months laid up in bed, dreaming about ways to improve the boring old cricket bat.
His first conclusion was that, in the age of Twenty20 cricket, there is no point in having all that wood around the bat’s shoulders. The splice has no offensive capability in any case. So you might as well lengthen the handle, and make the blade shorter and heavier.
The average Mongoose has a toe that is about two inches thick, which means that even the perfect yorker can be driven for four. And when you take this rigid chunk of wood – effectively an 18-inch railway sleeper – and stick it on the end of an equally long handle, it starts to act like a giant golf club.
Law admits that he would think twice before using his sawn-off Mongoose against Steve Harmison. When the ball is flying around your nostrils, the shoulders of the old-fashioned bat have an important role to play. But he believes that on slow, low pitches – like the ones you encounter on the sub-continent, or in English club cricket – the Mongoose can double your power.
In another parallel with golf, Codrington Fernandez suggests that cricketers of the future might go into a match with a variety of bats, only bringing out the more destructive ones for for the PowerPlay overs. This, in fact, just what Law plans to do on Tuesday, when Derbyshire play Durham in the Twenty20 Cup.
However, Keith Bradshaw, the MCC secretary, was sceptical about the multi-bat concept last night. “Our cricket committee had no objections to the Mongoose, as it is made entirely of traditional materials,” he said. “But I would question the idea of swapping bats in mid-innings. It might slow things down, and I’m not sure it’s within the spirit of the game.”
Chennai, March 11 (IANS) Former Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden Thursday formally launched the evolutionary 'Mongoose' bat that has a longer handle and smaller blade but a bigger sweet spot than the conventional cricket bat.
The burly southpaw demonstrated 'power hitting' on the sidelines of a media conference here and endorsed the product, saying it had a faster bat speed besides power designed specifically for Twenty20 cricket.
The Mongoose bat, named after the animal known for its ferocity, is said to be a 'ball crusher' and Hayden, known for his big-hitting, said: 'Cricket has advanced and evolved over the years in terms of the way it is played and also the equipment. Initially, I was skeptical of the Mongoose bat, but after playing three balls and some adjustments, I quite liked it.'
In the ensuing third edition of Indian Premier League, Hayden, who represents Chennai Super Kings, along with compatriot Andrew Symonds (Deccan Chargers) and West Indian Dwayne Smith (Deccan Chargers), would be using the Mongoose bat, according to its creator Marcus Codrington Fernandez, Director, Mongoose Cricket Ltd.
Fernandez said the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) had declared the bat legal and permitted its use in India and worldwide.
The handle of the Mongoose bat is 43 per cent longer and the blade 33 per cent shorter than the conventional bat. 'Since there is no splice, the sweet spot is increased by 120 per cent,' he said.
For the moment, 100 bats in two categories will be launched in India and all of them would be signed by Hayden, according to Fernandez. They are priced at between Rs. 17,000 and Rs. 23,000.
Hayden said the bat has good balance besides tremendous bat speed. 'Twenty20 is about scoring runs quickly. I am sure the Mongoose bat is ideal for this format.
'I am very excited by the potential of this bat and I feel just like Twenty20, it will also be accepted,' Hayden said while asserting the small size of the bat would not be a handicap in playing short-pitched balls or bouncers.
Fernandez hoped some of the top Indian players would also endorse his product. 'But Indian cricketers are far too expensive, but provide a lot of value. I would love to have somebody like Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag use the Mongoose bat,' he said.
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. 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. Bhatia was nonplussed.
Right, so this thing can do a bit, you started to think. But what about against spin, when the pace is taken off and the pitch plays a bit slow and low? The answer came all too soon, as Tillakaratne Dilshan was called on for some offspin in the eighth over. Hayden was back at his furious best: Dilshan tossed it up and the punishment was immediate - three sixes stung Delhi and sent the crowd into raptures. The second was a mishit but still soared into the stands. You marveled at the distance the ball travelled after it struck the blade of the bat.
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. A low full toss from Dirk Nannes - and it's for this specific delivery and the yorker that the Mongoose could prove to be most crucial - was sent speeding past short fine leg.
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.
Watching Hayden in full flow is one of the more delightful viewing experiences today, his brute force and style elevating him above many currently active hard-hitting batsmen in international cricket. But watching him with that little thing in his hands was something else. Cricket has traditionally been averse to change and innovation, but watching Hayden bludgeon both pace and spin around the park, you cannot help but wonder - will the Mongoose make its way onto the international scene?
The bat is good when the pitch is not offering much bounce. Long handles can generate more power. But I do not think it will be that much effective where the pitch is offering more bounce for the bowlers.
Bangladeshi cricketer Mohammad Ashraful, who has also been trying out the short-bladed mongoose in domestic matches, provides more insight into its hitting power. “Almost the entire blade of the bat is the sweet spot. So all you need to do is to connect, and the ball literally flies.”It’s also bottom-heavy, with the toe being two inches or more in thickness, which could mean more batsmen will send yorkers for sixes and fours the way Dhoni does
12.6 Syed Rasel to Sangakkara, OUT: What a delivery, completely fooled Sangakkara, first five delivery were the outswingers and now, this one comes in sharply, Sangakkara tries to left it and ball hits the off stump, top class bowling!