Things to Look for in Cricket Bats:
Every cricketer has a different option when buying a new cricket bat. The choices are but not limited to
- The size of Cricket Bat - Long blade or Short or Kids,
- Grade of the willow used to make the cricket bat.
- Number of Grains on the cricket bat is another option that some are interested in. The number of grains a cricket bat has can range from about 5 grains to about 15 grains.
- Weight of Cricket Bat.
1. Size of Cricket Bat & Handle:
Most Adult batsman use Short Handle (SH) size of cricket bat but if your height is above 6’1”, then we recommend for you to check out the long handles as an option, although it is a personal choice of the batsman to select size of the handle. For Junior cricketers the bats range from size 1 (smallest) and the largest one is 6 with Small Mens, Youth and Harrow in between Adult and Juniors.
2. Cricket Bat Willow Quality:
Crickets bats are a natural wooden material thus all have different bat characteristics right from balance of the bat, bat pickup and the number of grains and width of grain. As a rule of thumb,
- The softer (narrow grain) willow has excellent performance qualities but shorter lifespan
- The harder (broader grain) willow tends to last longer but takes time before you get optimum performance from it.
- All bats are graded on performance and made from a natural material so the grain structure can vary.
Players Grade Willow - This is the best willow that money can buy. The blade is unbleached and usually has 8-12 blemish free straight grains to a large extent.
Grade 1 willow - High quality unbleached English willow. As above but with a slightly broader grain and sometimes a slight red edge.
Grade 2 willow - Unbleached English willow with some minor blemishes, red wood on the edge and a slight irregular grain.
Grade 3 willow - Some of these bats will be bleached English willow to cover up a more irregular grain and more blemishes.
Grade 4 willow - This will be bleached English willow which is often covered up with a protective facing and sold as "non oil".
Kashmir willow - Found in cricket sets and junior bats. Kashmir willow is harder and dryer by nature than English willow, so doesn't perform as well or last as long. This bat is ideal as a starter bat for use against a softer safety ball (Incrediballs, Wonderballs, e.t.c)
Guide To Buy Cricket Bat: Grains Number
Cricket bat that is mainly manufactured by using high-quality English willow usually will have grains of 6 to 12. The lower the grain the swifter your bat will be, although it increases the time taken by the bat to reach the ultimate performance to knock the ball.
3. Sweet Spot, Shape and Pick Up:
There are a few other different factors which need to kept in mind before choosing any cricket bat.
- Sweet Spot
The sweet spot or middle is generally the cricket bat area that falls between 7 to 10 inches from the toe. It is part of the cricket bat from where players can hit the ball to the maximum distance.
The modern bats have larger sweet spots packed densely with wood. Nevertheless, some bats have a greater sweet spot surface area than others.
- Curve (Shape)
You might have noticed a curve in a cricket bat. That curve has many functions, including balancing the bat, adding finesse to various shots, and enlarging the sweet spot.
One of the curve's most critical functions is to make playing some of the shots more comfortable to play. It allows players to play shots at angles that would have been impossible otherwise to play.
Another important reason for having a curve is that it increases the bat's sweet spot area without increasing the bat's weight. The combination of weight distribution and curve gives the bat what we call the middle or the sweet spot, so there will be no definite middle without curvature. That’s why you won’t find bats without curves in international cricket.
You can imagine what you might be missing if the bat has less curvature or no curvature at all. If the bat has the same thickness throughout the length, there are chances fast pace deliveries might break it, like in the bats' toes. When a quick ball hits the toe of the bat, it cannot tolerate the ball’s kinetic energy because it contains less wood.
Hence, the toes are easily breakable, and no surprise, they don't play any role in shot-making.
The weight of the cricket bat is an essential factor that has enabled power hitting. It directly affects the six-hitting ability of the bat.
The heavier the bat, the longer the ball will go after connecting a hit. And modern players love playing with heavier bats. Hence, they hit more sixes than previous generations.
However, playing with a heavy bat has disadvantages too. It isn’t easy to middle balls with heavier bats as the efforts required to move the bat increases with the weight.
As a guide a light bat will weigh between 2lb 6oz and 2lb 9oz, a medium bat will weigh 2lb 9oz to 2lb 11oz and a heavy bat between 2lb 11oz and 3lb.
4. Toe Guard:
The weakest part of a bat is its toe, so a toe guard needs to be applied to protect that part of the bat. In most of the cases that part of the bat is damaged by Yorker while playing cricket. Even it could split the bat into two pieces if you haven’t provided a toe guard to protect it. In cricket the bat needs to be a tap in the ground, so by applying the toe guard, we can reduce the shock provided to the bat.