Team India Specials

'Bats talk to me'

Saturday, September 05, 2021
Anupam Pratihary
For two decades, with his incandescent batting, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has proved one thing— impossible is nothing.

Notoriously finicky (if that expression can ever be used for the batting genius) about his bat, Sachin performs a simple test on a brand new bat before deciding whether it is good enough to grace his ‘coffin’. The maestro brings the bat close to his ears and gently strikes it with the nail of his middle finger. What transpires thereafter is pure karmic connection. 

“They speak to me, I can make out,” he smiles. Depending on the sound, the bat gets Sachin’s preference as bat no. 1 or 2.

“I have to get everything right,” he says with an emphasis on the word ‘right’. What he meant was the weight of the bat, round shape, curved back and pick up. It’s only after finding that perfect harmony, the bat gets Sachin’s elusive nod. Or else how does one explain 29,457 international runs (12773 runs in Test, 16684 in ODI) and 85 centuries (42 in Test, 43 in ODI).

Defending the weight of his bat, Sachin says, “I’ve spoken to experts and their view is that a heavier bat takes the impact of the ball better than a lighter bat. Moreover, if I change the weight it might change my swing of the bat, which I don’t want.” The master rests his case.

Now, bowlers across the world have something new to fret over. Sachin has acquired a new set of bats from the legendary German sports equipment company, Adidas. “It’s is a beautiful bat. Obviously, it’s on the heavier side but has as many as 16 very neat grains,” said commentator Alan Wilkins, who had the privilege of a sneak peek at the master’s bat.

It’ll be unveiled in a week’s time. “I’ll start using it in Sri Lanka (during the tri-series, starting from September 9),” he says during a function where he was gifted his custom-made bats by the company. It couldn’t get much worse than this for the bowling fraternity.

“A bat has undergone a lot more changes than a ball. It does give advantage to a batsman,” he admits smilingly when asked how unequal the contest has become between a bowler and a batsman with the coming of these new-age bats.

So, has he kept his old bats? “I have all the bats with which I have scored a century,” he says. That makes 85 bats apart from the new ones that he has acquired after a tie-up with the German company. No wonder, Sachin is building a new house for himself.

Thankfully, he doesn’t have to keep the runs he has scored. Reminded of the runs, he is quick to clarify, “So many things get ascribed to me, but I never said that my aim is to score 15,000 runs in Test cricket.”

Now, armed with the new-age bat, we hope he goes on to make 15,000 Test runs. After all, impossible is nothing.