Chris Gayle plays with a bat weighing 1.350 kgs. Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir prefer a bat with a weight of 1.150 – 1.160 kgs. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar play with 1.250 – 1.260 kg bats. This information is brought to you courtesy Ram Bhandari, cricketers’ bat repairer.
Based in Bengaluru, Bhandari did not have the means to pursue his dream of becoming a cricketer. Hence, he decided to help out players by repairing their bats. In episode 6 of ‘Dream Big Stories’, a project by SK Brand Studio powered by Dream11, Bhandari opened up on how he turned ‘The Bat Doctor’. He said:
“My dream was to become a cricketer. However, I had no one to support me. I used to play gully-cricket as a hobby. So, I started making bats. This is very integral to cricket. This is also how I have lived my dream of being a part of the sport.”
Bhandari has been repairing bats since the year 2000. He started working for the Indian cricket team in 2004. Asserting that he loves the job, he also explained what goes into repairing a bat. He elaborated:
“Bat repairing and modifying implies that if the bat is broken, torn, or chipped out, it needs repairing. Even the handle needs repairing. One has to keep a check on the balancing, the body language of the players and the way they play. Keeping these things in mind, the weight and the curve has to be given a lot of attention.”
When Indian cricketers come to Bengaluru for practice, they often call Bhandari. The bat repairer stated:
“Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, all of them appreciate my skills.”
Not only Indian cricketers, but international stars like Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden have also got their willows repaired from ‘The Bat Doctor’.
“When I weighed his bat, it was too heavy” – Ram Bhandari recalls repairing Tendulkar’s bat
Back in 2006-07, Tendulkar was suffering from tennis elbow and back pain issues. Hence, he had to use a bat with slightly lesser weight than he usually preferred.
Bhandari helped him reduce the weight of his bat, working on it and getting it ready in two hours. Recalling the story, Bhandari said:
“In 2006-07 in Malaysia, a tournament was being held. Sachin Tendulkar was going to play in it. When I weighed his bat, it was too heavy. I felt he couldn’t have played with that bat, with so much weight, especially with a tennis elbow and back pain. I somehow repaired his bat. I got the bat and fixed it in two hours. When I gave it to him, he immediately approved it and said ‘okay good’.”
The results were instant and highly satisfactory. Bhandari revealed:
“In Malaysia, during the first match, he hit 144 runs and was not out. Then Sachin told me to let his bat be just like that only.”
Concluding his thoughts on his passion, Bhandari said:
“Players come to me to repair their bats because I put my heart into the job. I make them as per the players. I keep working on the bats until I am totally satisfied.”
Bhandari’s fascinating bat-man tale is proof that dreams can be shaped, reshaped and repaired!