MCC specifications for bat handle

May 8th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 8 (IANS) The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), guardians of the laws of cricket, has for the first time laid down specifications of the handle of the bat to cut out the growing use of graphite and carbon fibre strip that loads the game heavily in favour of batsmen. The MCC had been concerned by the use of carbon fibre and graphite in bat handles, which gives extra strength and also makes them lighter.

An overwhelming majority of MCC members voted to re-write law 6, which calls for “equal balance between bat and ball”

“The club was initially reluctant to be perspective on the materials used in the handle but developments in handle technology were such that it was decided that traditional bat-making methods needed to be maintained,” MCC said.

The new law stipulates that 90 percent of the volume of bat handles should be made of cane, wood and or twine. The other 10 percent can be used for the purpose of reducing vibration, for example rubber.

The handles, including the splice, must also not exceed 52 percent of the overall length of the bat and the law also restricts the thickness of materials that can be used to protect and repair bats.

“In cricket, the battle between bat and ball is key. If one comes to dominate the other, the game will become predictable and less enjoyable to watch,” MCC head of cricket John Stephenson was quoted as saying in the Guardian.

“While cricket pitches, balls and boundaries have changed little in centuries, modern bats have developed to the extent that mishits are now clearing the boundary rope for six. By ensuring that bats are made in the traditional manner. MCC hopes to safeguard the traditional balance of the game.”

Ricky Ponting’s bat raised a controversy two years ago when it was found that the handle had a carbon graphite strip, which added to the strength of the bat. The Australian captain’s bat made by Kookaburra was subsequently banned.

The new law will come into effect from October 1 this year, when all bats used in the professional game will have to meet the new standards.

The MCC said, while compiling the law change, it consulted the International Cricket Council, governing bodies of Test-playing countries, bat manufacturers, scientists as well as suppliers of willow and cane to ensure they could meet demand.

Modern bat handles are made with a hollow carbon-fibre shaft, fixed to the blade with a wooden plug, and housed in moulded foam, while traditional bat handles are a mix of cane and rubber, guarded by a linen thread, weighing up to six ounces more.

“Modern training methods have allowed many batsmen to become stronger and fitter than their predecessors, thus hitting the ball harder and further,” Stephenson said.

Before the change, there was little prescription on bat-making beyond maximum width (4.25in), length (38in), and that the blade should be made entirely of wood.

MCC will also carry out random tests on bats over the world to ensure the law is being implemented.

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