No matter how large the boundaries are, he has the power and the willow to clear them and about 20 rows in the stands, he has proven it all over the world. I remember him destroying Brett Lee at Trent Bridge, he has pummeled the roof of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium many a time, and he has even peppered spectators in the stands of the MCG.
So if we can’t build stadiums big enough to contain this brute, what do we do? Can we make him bat with a child sized bat? Perhaps make him bat blindfolded? Something must be done.
Cricket has evolved massively since the introduction of T20 cricket. Spinners have their googlies, carrom balls and doosras. Seamers have their slower balls, bouncers and ‘surprise long hops’. Batsmen have the Dil-Scoop, the Helicopter and various sweeps. Although perhaps the biggest evolution is the weapons the batsmen are allowed to use.
Chris Gayle’s bat is nothing less than a tree. Hercules himself looks like he would struggle to lift it, it is that big. Yet whenever he is asked, he claims it weighs 2 pounds 10.
I am beginning to think that all batsmen in the IPL should use the same bat, or pick from a choice of 3. They tried this out in Ping Pong recently and I heard many good things about it. It diminishes the vast differences between different types of bats, and allows the spectators to see the true value of the cricket and the shots of the player.
Commentators are always saying that “if you hit it over a certain distance (100 metres) you should be awarded an 8, a 10 or a 12.” I don’t agree with this, because this just rewards the cricketers who spend more time in the gym than the nets. I will always choose to practice technique over power, because technique is the basis of the game. What would Boycott said? “Good technique” in his unmistakeable Yorkshire accent.
I firmly believe that we need to level the playing field a bit, and get the youngsters in the nets where they can practice the true shots of the game. Otherwise, the gorgeous Ian Bell cover drive could become a thing of the past.