We took it down to the nets. At first it was psychologically disturbing to face up with: I felt almost unarmed, outgunned. When I looked down, there was none of the testosterone-fuelled outrigging of the modern bat; no power bow or contoured spine, no massive edges or giant sweet spot or chrome-dream stickers. It wasn't named after a greek god and that worried me. If the ball missed the middle it didn't really go anywhere, and the first few that did hit the centre went in the air because the bat was so light I was through the shot before the ball had properly arrived.
But then I cracked a few, and they went almost as well as any other bat. It was as much a mental as a physical adjustment. I wouldn't use it in a match, I wouldn't want to go back to it, but it taught me one thing: both the bats I'm using at the moment are too heavy. I'd forgotten how freely you can move with a feather in your hands.
Driving home. I felt like a sucker. Without realising it, and despite telling myself I was far too sussed to be taken in, I'd bought into the myth of modern bats. I'd gone big and thick. Now I want something sleeker, slicker, sexier. Still big, but you know, not that big.