Monday, 11 June 2012

Some more bats which I have loved

1. Slazenger V Caribbean

Important point: this may be the only photo on the whole Internet. And it might not be the right bat.

Like Excalibur, the V Caribbean exists only in a half-remembered dream. It was Viv Richards' bat. Except, when you look at every picture on Google images, he's using an SS, a Duncan Fearnley, A V500, or a V100. Further research shows that someone tried to sell one on eBay Australia a little while back. Other than that, it has vanished without a trace.

All I know is this. Aged 11 I'd managed to nab the V Caribbean from the school kit bag. A leg spinner bowled me a long hop first ball. I took a big swing, which was what I did every ball those days, and unusually I connected, and it went up, and up, and over a fence, and into a moat a very long way away, and I was therefore an automatic selection for the first team all year, where I don't think I ever made more than 10, and that was clearly because I kept having to use the shitty Dynadrive. This bat existed. I know it did.

If this bat was a singer it would be: Bobbie Gentry.

2. Grey Nicolls Elite 500

One word: badass. As I recall this bat came in two different weights - oak tree trunk or, for the ladies, railway sleeper. Robin Smith only used it because the very fact he could lift it sent a message. Fuck having a scoop - this bat would have had extra wood on the back, if it could. Once you'd decided on a shot, there was no going back. If you'd picked the right one, you probably had six runs to your name. If you hadn't, you generally had to lump the thing back to the pavilion.

If this bat was an actor it would be: Tom Hardy.

3. Grey Nicolls Powerspot

It's got a spot, right? That's where you hit the ball, right? But what if you grew up in the 90s and all you saw was Mike Atherton facing Glenn McGrath or Curtly Ambrose and the ball steadfastly refusing to hit that bit of the bat and instead hitting the bits around the spot, and then usually heading to one of the people standing behind him? Well then it wouldn't fill you with confidence when you used it, would it? If they'd named it something like the Grey Nicolls "Thick outside edge to Mark Waugh at slip" - then at least poor Athers wouldn't have felt he was being sold down the river every time he picked it up.

Look at bats these days. The stickers imply you're going to smash it out of the park, possibly off the splice. Whereas this bat says 'you might get a four, if you time it perfectly'. Low expectation having motherfucker, to quote Chris Rock. No one I know ever made runs with a Powerspot.

If this bat was a TV family it would be: The Royle Family. Unmistakably English in how low it sets its sights.

4. Kookaburra Bubble

Bit of a rip off of the Powerspot, of course, but this was in a different class. Because this was Alec Stewart's bat. And Alec Stewart did the bat twiddle. So if you owned a Bubble, you had to learn the twiddle. And that automatically made you look, ooh, about 110x cooler at the crease. Alec Stewart also did the thing where you tucked the bat under your arm as your middle stump got knocked back. Which even made getting out cool. To the point where some of us might even have deliberately got bowled in a practise game just so we could do it. Because we were lovable losers. That's at least half right.

If this bat was a film character it would be: Vince Vaughan in Dodgeball.

5. Duncan Fearnley 405

Really? Because flaying a rubbish attack to all parts of a tiny ground on the flattest wicket on earth warrants the creation of a bat in your honour? Really? Seriously, given the comparative standards of Australian and English domestic cricket at that time I'd rather have bought the Kookaburra "David Boon gritty 37* at the Hobart Oval" or something.

If this bat was an annoying MP that really rated itself it would be: Louise Mensch.

6. Gunn and Moore Purist

I don't really have anything amusing to say about this bat. It was Michael Vaughan's bat. He was stylish. It made you want to be stylish too. I owned one for three years. It was, without question, the best bat I've ever owned, ever. For those three years, I averaged 50. Then one day, at the end of a season, it went kaput. It was still good, but it was tired. I loved it so much I'd have done ANYTHING to keep using it, but every time I went out I found myself scared of playing shots in the air in case they didn't go far enough, so I really had to donate it to the club bag. The next year, I averaged about 20. Might have been the new bat; more likely to have been grief.

If this bat was a cricketer it would be: Michael Vaughan. Well, during that Ashes tour, anyway.


  1. I love this.

    I had a Bubble. I don't think I middled it but looking at my current bat, I'm starting to wonder if I ever middled it.

  2. Were the Judge not in a tshirt, I'd say that pic was taken midway through a bludgeoning 48* against the Windies on some Caribbean trampoline, every run smashed so hard through point that the ball bounced back off the boards to the keeper.

  3. i still own and use a viv richards caribbean.. i have own it for at least 20 years and is still an amazing bat to use and is the most solid bat i have ever owned, i could send you some pics as i cant find another one anywhere on the web

    lee b


  4. If Robin Smith had one of today's bat's he would have smaahed the ball into space! I got my dad to buy me an Elite 500 when i was 14. I could barely lift the bloody thing. I still felt great walking out with the beast though!
    Great blog. More please

  5. Great blog post, informative list. Thanks so much. I’m enjoying devouring your site!!
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