Skip to main content

Dennis Lillee’s Aluminium 'ComBat' in the '79 Ashes

Greg Chappel walking out of the ground with the ComBat
Rated as an "outstanding fast bowler of his generation", Dennis Keith Lillee was a world class bowler with a fiery temperament and a never-give-up attitude. One of the greats in his own right, Dennis Lillee was the epitome of a great Australian fast bowler who unsettled batsmen with his steaming run-up and raw, searing pace.

But in a bizarre incident in December 1979 at Perth, in a test match between Australia and England, Dennis Lillee decided to walk out with an aluminium bat! Much to the surprise of his own teammates, let alone the opposition, he decided to keep playing with the aluminium version as there were no rules against using such a bat during that time. 

Apart from the irritating, clunking sound that the bat was making, the real trouble began when Lillee hit a ball down the ground that went for three runs. In the Australian dressing room, captain Greg Chappell thought that the ball should have gone for a boundary (four runs), were he using a wooden bat. He quickly instructed Rodney Hogg to run to the pitch and deliver a conventional wooden bat to Lillee. Meanwhile, English captain Mike Brearley had also lodged a complaint to the umpires that using such a bat was against the spirit of the game and that it was damaging the second new ball which probably was England's chance of getting back at the host team.

Brearley, Lillee and the Umpires
While Lillee was stubborn enough to ignore his captain’s request, it miffed the opposition captain to such an extent that he refused his bowlers to deliver another ball. Greg had to rush into the middle of the ground with a willow in his hand to salvage the situation. No sooner was he about 22 yards from Lillee, he heard a whirring noise. Lillee threw "the offending lump of metal fully 40 yards towards the pavilion”. The aluminium bat flew over Chappell's head and landed a few feet behind him. Chappell calmly handed his fast bowler the willow and walked to the dressing room, picking up the piece of aluminium on his way back.

Inspired by the way metal had replaced wood in baseball bats, the aluminium bat was the brainchild of Graham Monaghan. A former club cricketer who was also a close friend of Lillee, Monaghan’s target market for this cheap replacement for the traditional cricket bat was the far less serious field of recreational cricket, schools and developing countries. In fact, Lillee was Monoghan’s business partner. Later he admitted in his autobiography, Menace, that the gimmick was purely a marketing exercise.

Lillee's Aluminium Bat - 'ComBat'
The brand was aptly named 'ComBat'. After the game, sales of the bat skyrocketed for a few months, before the laws of the game were amended, specifying that bats had to be made from wood.

References:

Comments

Most read articles

The choice is clear - Aluminium body for high end smartphones

A lot of phone companies are trying to build slim and sturdy phones for the ever growing market of steroid enhanced hardware capabilities. With phone manufacturers stuffing more RAM and precision cameras in the modern phones, the weight and robustness of the frames becomes all the more important. Today, some manufactures prefer a fiber body to reduce the overall weight in comparison to metal bodies. However, there’s something which still draws a larger advocacy of using aluminium bodies instead of a plastic or fiber.

In 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned an open letter highlighting changes to the company's environmental policy in hopes of achieving "a greener Apple." In the letter, Jobs specifically noted the Mac maker's adoption of aircraft-grade aluminum in order to improve recycling uptake. Apart from the cost reduction implications, Apple is strongly in favor of aluminium usage in all its products for improving its year on year recycling capabilities with more tha…

Lamborghini's raging Super SUV URUS - a balance of power and weight

This is unlike any Lamborghini automobile ever! An SUV from the company who produces supercars made from the blood of raging bulls? Of course, they are calling it the world’s first Super Sports Utility Vehicle – a fact we can’t deny given the super specs on the automobile and Lamborghini’s signature design. Will this animal from Lamborghini’s bullpen deliver on the brand’s promise? Let’s find out!

From the outside, the vehicle sports the signature of Lamborghini’s extreme design yet finds a way to make it less aggressive for the owners who just want to buy milk on a cold Monday morning from the nearest market. However, on the inside, it’s still a beast. The front hood houses the 4 litre V8 twin-turbo engine with 650 HP and 850 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is achieved in just 3.6 seconds and the top speed is a staggering 305 km/h! Braking is no less impressive: the Urus decelerates from 100 km/h to 0 in 33.7 meters. The vehicle is 4-wheel steering with carbon-ceramic brake…

Airbus to soar with advanced aluminium-based planes in Asia

Airbus's latest poster boy is the brand new aluminium-based model A350-1000. Qatar Airways took delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-1000 just a week ago. Major Asian airlines like China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airlines, Philippine Airlines, are among the big names included in the list of 14 airlines that have queued up to operate the advanced aircraft soon.
So what’s the big deal about a new plane?
We all know the fierce rivalry between Boeing and Airbus. Quality, innovation and efficiency – the aircraft manufacturing behemoths have always had a cutthroat competition in these areas. This time, Airbus is shifting tides in its favour by launching the latest A350 model in the skies. According to Airbus Marketing Director Francois Obe, “Forecasts show about 40% of the world’s air traffic will come from Asia in the next 20 years. In that sense, our latest A350 model is the product with the best capacity which is adapted to the evolving market,” He was in Seoul as part of…

‘Red Mud’ in alumina production and how is it handled

Alumina production employs the Bayer’s process which leaves behind a residue known as Red Mud. If the alumina extraction is done through any other process then the residue left behind is known as White Mud or Bellite. Over 95% of the alumina manufactured globally is derived from bauxite by the Bayer process.
For more on the Bayer’s Process: http://redmud.org/red-mud/production/
Over 90% of the alumina produced in the world is used to manufacture aluminium metal. This is termed as metallurgical or smelter grade alumina (SGA). The rest is termed non-metallurgical grade alumina (NMGA). Red mud is composed of a mixture of metallic oxides. The bauxite filtrate primarily consists of iron oxides, silicon oxide, titanium oxide and un-dissolved alumina together with a wide range of other oxides. This depends upon the place of extracted bauxite. The iron oxides, which comprise up to 60% of the mass of the sludge impart the red colour. The mud is highly basic with a pH ranging from 10 to 13.
As…