IPL 8: Dhoni wants to give a makeover to his willow

first_imgMahendra Singh Dhoni leads the pack of players who have sent their favourite blades to Bhandari to make them ‘perfect’ and ‘balanced’.The Indian Premier League (IPL) is slam-bang cricket, and to hit boundaries and sixes batsmen usually make adjustments to their bats, reducing their weight. It means more work for bat makers as players send their willows to them for reducing weights.Ram Bhandari, a seasoned ‘bat doctor’ based in Bangalore, too has got busier after the IPL started on April 8. Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads the pack of players who have sent their favourite blades to Bhandari to make them “perfect” and “balanced” – the favourite words of the carpenter. Bhandari, 54, disclosed that Dhoni has asked him to give a makeover to his willow and reduce its weight by up to 60 grams, possibly with an aim to swing it more freely during the IPL.Bhandari said he doesn’t ask reasons for the alterations players want in their bats. “Dhoni sent the bat through Varun Aaron about a week ago. The bat that he has been using lately, is manufactured by Sanspareils Greenlands of Meerut. It weighs 1,250gm and he has asked me to bring its weight down to between 1,190gm and 1,200gm,” Bhandari told MAIL TODAY.”In a T20 tournament like IPL, a lighter and thicker bat helps batsmen play shots effortlessly. After making it perfect and balanced, I will either courier the bat to Dhoni, or he will collect it from me in Bangalore when he comes here on April 22 to play against the Royal Challengers Bangalore,” said the man who has been making bats for 15 years.advertisementCiting the example of Sachin Tendulkar on how players are particular about their willow, Bhandari said: “Whenever the factory sends Dhoni’s [raw] bats to me, they write his name on the toe of the willow so that they don’t get mixed with other bats.”Bhandari ‘made’ bats for K.L. Rahul before he left for Australia where he made his Test debut in January. And on return from Australia, at the conclusion of the World Cup, Suresh Raina despatched his match bat for getting it “balanced” and “comfortable”.”Raina sent his bat through K.L. Rahul. He plays with a bat weighing around 1,170gm-1,180gm. The bat he sent was slightly bottom-heavy and I have fine-tuned it to his liking,” said Bhandari.Among other players whose bats are currently with Bhandari for makeover are K.L. Rahul, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and R. Vinay Kumar, besides many local players who feature in various leagues in Bangalore.”I make Stuart Binny’s master bat. I turn the willow that comes from the factory into his ‘master bat’. Players call them ‘match bats’ but I call them ‘master bats’,” Bhandari said.”Binny’s new bat that has just arrived from the factory is slightly heavy, weighing about 1,250 gm. I’m now making it light. He plays with a bat that weighs between 1,150 gm and 1,160 gm.” Earlier, Bhandari regularly used to make bats for Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, and he fondly remembers his association with them.”Both Sehwag and Gambhir play with 1,150 gm bats. I used to make them from raw willow that I received from companies. They use slightly heavier bats for practice, and at times, they may weigh even 1,250 gm,” he said.”When they, and also Sachin, would visit Bangalore, they would call me to their hotel rooms to give instructions.”last_img