What is it?
It’s a cricket bat held with such a light grip that the ball loses all venom and momentum on striking it and falls harmlessly to the ground. It’s a key element of defensive technique. Indeed, no innings of substance can be built without it.
Does it differ from ‘soft hands’?
Soft hands birth a dead bat. So, it’s the same idea, different imagery. What kill a dead bat are hard hands – modern batsmen, because of a prevalence of short-form cricket, often push hard at the ball. Edges, instead of falling short, carry to the slips as a result.
Who used it best?
Defensive greats Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Hanif Mohammad, Geoff Boycott and Sunil Gavaskar were dead-bat artists, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis more recent masters. Kane Williamson and Cheteshwar Pujara do it best in the modern game.
Not to be mistaken for
The deceased flying mammal found in a packaged salad container bought in a grocery store in Florida earlier this year – it became quite the news story, sparking an investigation by health officials as they attempted to allay fears of a rabies outbreak.