IPL innovations: is Ben Stokes planning on double-batting it?

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The Impact Player substitution thing suggests that the IPL has been reduced to rehashing old ideas in its search for eye-catching innovations/gimmicks. How about being a little more creative? How about letting batters use two bats?

When we saw the shot of Ben Stokes above, we immediately thought of a court story we heard recently about a wedding near our home town which had descended into an insanely violent mass brawl.

There are two reasons why we thought of this:

  1. At least nine of the men sentenced were called Stokes
  2. One guy was apparently wielding two fire extinguishers as if they were nunchuks

When it comes to wielding a cricket bat (or a fire extinguisher for that matter), we’d argue that two hands are better than one. That didn’t dissuade Moeen Ali from going for a top-spin forehand against South Africa last month though.

The logical next step is to equip a second bat for extra damage. What else are you going to use that spare hand for? A shield? A torch? A spade?

We were therefore excited to see what Stokes would be able to do with two bats. Somewhat disappointingly, what he was able to do was ‘drop one of the bats behind the stumps before taking strike two-handed’.

Nevertheless, his move does at least conjure notions of a special slogging bat primed for deployment. You may or may not remember the purest example of such a bat, the Mongoose, which was occasionally used by Matthew Hayden in the 2010 IPL and far more memorably by Dwayne Smith while dressed as a cowboy.

Back in those days, batters very rarely began their innings using a Mongoose. They instead summoned it when they felt it was time to deploy the long handle (an apt phrase because that was the bat’s defining feature – less blade, more handle).

We always imagined them calling out, “Bring Forth The Mongoose,” in a booming Brian Blessed voice at such times.

The IPL starts tomorrow.

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  1. Anyone know why it was called a “mongoose” rather than, say, an “elephant” or – in honour of its long neck, “the giraffe”?

    In beach cricket my blade of choice is “the gerbil”.

      1. There should be production of such small, ferocious implements in several regions of the cricketing world. Southern Africa to name but one example. Then you should establish a website to weigh up the merits of each region’s tiny weapon.

        Yes, that’s right, you could call the site: compare-the-mere-bat-dot-com.

      2. They cornered the meerkat, I mean market, after Gio Con-Pear-io realised he had the least apt name in history for a bat comparison service.

      3. Cheap bats (imitations of mighty makes such as the mongoose) might have their handles attached, with low grade glue and poor quality bindings. A good name for a website exploring the market for dsuch odgy products would be Con-fused-dot-com.

  2. If you are getting bored with the way your current willow provider limits you to one side of the field, it’s time to dial Uswitch-hit.

  3. We have a Mongoose in our clubhouse that I’ve never seen used, grip has seen better days, who stocks extra long Mongoose grips, or do you put two on? I need to know as hopefully some Sunday in a few months time I can shout “Bring Forth The Mongoose” to a confused audience.

    1. Mongoose report please!

      Guess you just put the grip where your hands go and leave the rest of the handle… nude.

  4. Why would one call out “Bring Forth The Mongoose!” in a booming Brian Blessed voice when one could just as easily do so in a bestial Laurence Elderbrook roar and immediately double the decibels (at the very least) so as to leave no player, umpire or spectator in doubt that one is bringing forth The Mongoose?

    1. Doesn’t there need to be some depth to the batter’s innings (as well as the voice) in order for the phrase “bring forth the mongoose” to apply? That’s a quintessentially contra-Elderbrook situation.

      I’m pretty sure that a Blessed-expletive would leave listeners in no doubt as to the great man’s intention.

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