On De Kock and I and the type of wood we en­joy

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - Of wood ev­ery­where. A few of the Proteas play­ers were there to check out how their bats were made and in the case of Ver­non Phi­lan­der, pick up a few “new sticks”. Some crick­eters can be re­ally picky about their bats, some are quite in­ti­mate – there are st

in his play­ing days, went through a pe­riod where su­per­sti­tion dic­tated he tape his bat to the ceil­ing.

Phi­lan­der’s not quite so mad, but he is quite spe­cific about what type of bat he wants. He spent a large chunk of time in con­ver­sa­tion with an el­derly gen­tle­man called Kevin Stimp­son, who’s been in the em­ploy of G&M for 43 years. Stimp­son, is a bat some­where in the 1990s.

Stimp­son lis­tened in­tently, shook his head a cou­ple of times and then reck­oned he was right to pro­duce what Phi­lan­der wanted.

“Ya, he went through a few and then set­tled on this shape,” Stimp­son ex­plained, point­ing to one of Phi­lan­der’s old bats, which the player him­self had modified us­ing what ap­peared to be a com­bi­na­tion of plas­ter of paris and band aid.

Where Phi­lan­der seemed in­ter­ested in the finer de­tails – he checked weight and asked for a few mil­lime­tres to be shaved off the back of his bat – I’m go­ing to put my­self in the Quin­ton de Kock cat­e­gory of bat choos­ing. When asked what he looked for when he chose a bat, De Kock replied: “There are nice bats, nice shapes, but a bat’s a bat, wood’s wood, it doesn’t mat­ter. Oth­ers have their pref­er­ences. I take the bat that’s been given to me. I’m not finicky.”

Pre­cisely. In the cou­ple of so­cial games, I’ve played re­cently, that’s ex­actly how I’ve cho­sen the bat I’d use. Of course, I have nowhere near the kind of tal­ent De Kock has, but it was cool to know there are play­ers out there for whom it’s not a big deal what the specifics are of their equip­ment – wood’s wood, a bat’s a bat.

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