In January 2013, I bought a new bat for the summer, and I instantly fell in love. It looked beautiful, it smelt incredible and from the first moment the knocking in mallet connected with the bat, I knew it was the one. It was love at first sight. I could not wait for the season to start.
The first game of the season came, as captain I humbly batted myself at 6 (in reality, above where I merit). I hit 57 off 30 something balls, including taking one bowler for three 6’s in an over. I loved a piece of willow more than I could imagine. Later in the season I hit 148* in a 306* 30 over partnership (I have told anyone that will listen about this, and many that haven’t).
These were my only two scores of note last season, yet I was still figuratively (read literally) down on one knee to the bat. I trusted it with my life, and more importantly, my wicket. To my horror, partway through the season, I thought I saw a crack emerging. It wasn’t, but I still spent 30 minutes closely analysing it to make sure (it was actually an hour).
I am a more confident batsman with it, and cannot imagine using any other bat. In fact, this winter I have gone out and bought new pads, gloves and a kitbag to match. (Mongoose, if you’re reading, you’re welcome!)
In no other sport can someone get so attached to their kit, I have seen many a club cricketer rue the day a certain pair of gloves, pads, bat or even a hat gave up the ghost and they had to invest in new kit, which has changed their form, forever. Oh, if only they still had those gloves. Having written all this down, I am questioning getting some counselling, but be honest, we all have and unhealthy relationship with a piece of cricket kit (I hope it’s not just me anyway)