Chennai: Matthew Hayden, as all cricketers would when asked to rate their team's chances, predicted a strong showing from Chennai Super Kings in this year's Indian Premier League. He was speaking at a promotional event here on Thursday.
“I'm very optimistic about winning the title. We missed narrowly the first time, and we've been in the top four in both seasons. Our prospects are very good,” said the barrel-chested Australian opener.
Hayden also had words of praise for his captain M.S. Dhoni. “We enjoy very good team sprit built around a good, young skipper. He has achieved individually and has an exceptional captaincy record.”
Hayden was speaking at the launch of the ‘Mongoose', a creation of bizarre dimensions which could come to be seen either as an evolutionary leap in cricket bats or as an amusing footnote in the game's history.
MCC's Laws of the Game specify only the overall length, width and weight of a cricket bat, and not the lengths of its constituent handle and blade.
The Mongoose features a lengthened handle and a shorter, thicker and denser blade with a bigger ‘sweet spot' — which, according to its inventor Marcus Codrington Fernandez, will allow batsmen to generate more bat-speed and hit the ball a greater distance.
Asked if he would use the bat at some point during the IPL season, Hayden replied in the affirmative.
“I've been four days in the country, and hit nearly 2000 balls in that time. Of that, 400 to 500 have been with this Mongoose,” he said. “If you're asking me if I'll use it, I certainly will — it will be used strategically.”
The shorter blade, however, limits the bat's potential in longer-format cricket, where batsmen often make contact with the ball near the splice while defending.
The Mongoose is therefore positioned as a Twenty20-specific bat.
“You can't get away from its smaller surface area,” said Hayden.
“But how many times in Twenty20 do you see a batsman going on to the backfoot to defend?”
Andrew Symonds and Dwayne Smith, both of Deccan Chargers, have also signed up as brand ambassadors for the Mongoose, said Fernandez.