The Day Cricket Saw an Aluminum Bat By Dennis Lillee

During a match in December 1979, we saw something unusual. Dennis Lillee, the fiery Australian fast bowler, sent shockwaves through the cricketing world today when he walked out to bat-wielding an aluminum bat during the second day of the first Test against England. Despite the controversy, it was a pure marketing gimmick.

In 1979, during a cricket match, Dennis Lillee did something unusual. Instead of using a regular wooden bat, he walked out to bat with a bat made of aluminum! This made quite a buzz because it was different from what everyone else was using. The aluminum bat was called ComBat.

Dennis Lillee wasn’t known for his batting skills, but he decided to use this special bat during a Test match against England in Perth. The idea for the aluminum bat came from a friend of Lillee’s, Graham Monaghan. Monaghan thought it could be a fun addition to cricket for casual players and schools. Debuting the bat in a Test match was a clear attempt to generate publicity for this new product aimed at the recreational cricket market. Later he admitted in his autobiography, Menace, that the gimmick was purely a marketing exercise.

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During the match, when Lillee started batting with the aluminum bat, it caused a stir. His captain, Greg Chappell, allowed it, thinking it might unsettle the English players. At the time, there were no official rules regarding aluminum bats in professional cricket. But eventually, Chappell realized it wasn’t a good idea because it wasn’t helping the team score runs.

So, Lillee had to switch back to a regular wooden bat. Despite the controversy, Lillee performed well in the match, taking wickets as a bowler. The incident boosted sales of the aluminum bat, but cricket authorities later changed the rules to only allow wooden bats.

The bat Lillee used at Perth still finds a proud place in his collection of cricketing memorabilia. At the end of the Test, he even got it signed by both the teams. Mike Brearley inscribed it simply with “Good luck with the sales.”

Overall, it was a memorable moment in cricket history, showing that sometimes players like to try out new things, even if they don’t always stick around for long.

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