NEW DELHI: There was a time when cricketers never bothered which bats they were using. Batsmen would walk out to the middle with whichever bat was available in the dressing room.
But things changed dramatically over the years and so did the size and weight of the bat and the science behind it. So much so that cricketers started paying very close attention to the minutest of details. The width, weight handle size etc. everything became very important. The sheer weight of Sachin Tendulkar‘s bat amazed everyone, so did the lightness of Mohammed Azharuddin’s bat. Gone were the days when the bats were given an oil massage to “enhance the stroke.” There were stories that some cricketers keep their bats nicely packed in wool, some cricketers carried six to seven, sometimes more bats on overseas tours. The bats were no longer straight but were slightly curved like a bow.
The evolution of bats continued.
Swashbuckling Australian opener Matthew Hayden introduced the mongoose bat to the international audience. Hayden unveiled the Mongoose Bat in the 2010 edition of the IPL. It was subsequently banned. The size of David Warner‘s bat and its thick edges made everyone sit up and take notice. The edges seemed so thick that the ball would likely fly out of the stadium even off the edge.
Barry Richards compares his old bat with the bat of David Warner. (Getty Images)
In India, many cricketers and cricket enthusiasts would flock to Jalandhar or Meerut for their bats. Or youngsters would choose bats according to the bats that their heroes were using in international cricket.
But how would you decide which bat is exactly right for you? By just the feel of it? By the swing of it? Or would you stick with one bat as long as you’re scoring runs with it? Also how heavy should your bat ideally be? Different people used different parameters to decide all that.
In short the basic understanding of the science of cricket bats at a mass scale was missing.
Two young cricket enthusiasts Samir Shah and Harshal Shah have come up with a platform to provide a service that promises to change that. Samir and Harshal have come up with a bat making concept, Z-Bat, with scientific algorithms and sensor-based technology, backed with a ‘body meets balance’ concept. The goal is to help cricket players and enthusiasts buy the bat that suits them best.
“We studied and figured out that there could be 344 types of batters in the age category of 8-80 years. This is what spurred us to come up with the concept that will guide players to make the perfect choice,” Harshal said.
According to the duo, who were amateur cricketers, the bats will not only help people identify the right cricket bats, but also enhance performance and will also help avoid injuries thanks to what they call the body dynamics detection.
Samir added, “While we got hooked to the idea, we ran a survey among amateur cricketers across Mumbai and the feedback to our concept was very positive and promising, which is why we decided to go ahead and convert our dream into reality.”
Samir Shah, G Ramachandran and Harshal Shah
The innovative concept is also empowering aspiring enthusiasts to become bat smiths and bat technicians, as part of the Made in India initiative. They have tied up with various skilled institutes to procure carpenters who are being empowered to become professional bat makers.
The founders aim to open ten clinics where the service will be provided over the next 6 months. The first clinic will be in Parel, Mumbai. The next stop will be Bengaluru.
The potential of the idea was identified by startup pioneer G Ramachandran of Gold’s Gym fame. He joined hands with Samir and Harshal to help provide Indian cricket enthusiasts this service.
“The unconventional has always intrigued and attracted me. When I heard Harshal and Samir’s idea, I knew the concept had acceptance and scalability with the right push and backing. With my experience of making a success of start-up product and their understanding of the game, I am confident India is up for a fresh cricketing revolution,” Ramachandran said.