Below is a comprehensive buying guide explaining every factor in detail. Read the information carefully to pick up the best cricket bat for your requirements.
1. Bat Size
Cricket bats are available in different sizes and you should choose the size as per your height and age. If you are tall, then you would find that handling a taller bat is easier. If you are short, then you will find that a simple small bat is perfect fit for your playing requirements.
Below is table representing suitable cricket bat size according to age and height.
|Age of Player (years)||Height of Player (feet)||Bat Size||Bat Length (inches)||Bat Width (inches)|
|4 – 5||Up to 4’ 3”||1||25 ¾”||3 ½”|
|6 – 7||4’ 3” to 4’ 6”||2||27 ¾”||3 ½”|
|8||4’6” to 4’9”||3||28 ¾”||3 ¾”|
|9 – 11||4’9” to 4’11”||4||29 ¾”||3 ¾”|
|10 – 12||4’11” to 5’2”||5||30 ¾”||4”|
|11 – 13||5’2” to 5’6”||6||31 ¾”||4”|
|12 – 14||5’6” to 5’9”||Harrow||32 ¾”||4 1/6”|
|15 and above||5’9” to 6’2”||Full SH||33 ¾”||4 ¼”|
|15 and above||6’2” and above||Full SH||34 ¾”||4 ¾”|
2. Willow Wood Type and Quality
Cricket bats available in India are made up of either English willow wood or Kashmir willow wood. English wood is light in weight and has springier action which provide more stroke and power. This is the reason; it is the most preferred choice. Kashmir willow type bats are very hard and don’t provide same level of performance as English willow. They don’t last longer time period. They are perfectly suitable for beginners. When it comes to price, English willow cricket bats are expensive than Kashmir Willow.
When it comes to quality, cricket bats are divided into grades. Below, we have mentioned different grades and what makes them different from one another.
- Willow Grade 1 – It is the most expensive and top grade quality cricket bat as they are not blemished or bleached. 8 to 12 grains are present on the face of the bat. But it is the most expensive willow bat.
- Willow Grade 2 – It has at least 6 broader straight grains. And it doesn’t come with minimal or no blemishes on the face of the bat.
- Willow Grade 3 – Though quality of this type is excellent, it has irregular grain patterns. When compared to grade 1, it has irregular grain patterns.
- Willow Grade 4 – Due to affordable price, this is the most widely used grade. It has irregular grain patters (4 to 6) and a little discoloration on the face of the bat.
- Willow Grade 5 – It has fewer grains than other grade types. Butterfly stain and marks are present on the face of the bat.
Play ability and durability of a cricket bat depends on number of grain lines present on the face of the bat. These grain lines usually run from top to bottom of the bat. They represent the age of the wood used for making the bat. For better performance, choose a bat with more number of grains. But more grains mean less durability. So, ideal option for durability and performance is considered between 6 to 10 grains.
Apart from grain number, you should check whether space is consistent between the grain lines. And also make sure the grain profile is same on the front and back of the bat’s face.
4. Tennis Vs Leather Ball
Which ball do you regularly use for playing cricket – a tennis ball or leather ball? If you use tennis ball, then Kashmir willow bat is sufficient. But for the leather ball, it is better to go for English willow as it is thicker and springier.
Tennis Vs Leather Ball
5. Bat Weight
Weight of the bat also plays an important role in terms of performance. Heavier bats are more durable and provide more power to shots. But lighter bats allow the player to play all types of shots. They also allow better control and faster speed of the shot.
Based on weight, full size English willow bats are categorized into 3 types.
- Light (0.94 to 1.14 Kg) – Suitable for touch players who wants to time the ball instead of hitting hard. You can choose this bat if you want good control over the strokes.
- Medium (1.14 Kg to 1.26 Kg) – Perfect for control and balancing power. If you are looking for good maneuverability and solid power, then this is the right choice.
- Heavy (1.26 Kg and more) – Ideal for power players are they are heavier and thicker. If you are a professional cricket player, then this is the right choice.
As a standard, any good standard cricket bat should be of the weight which falls between 1.2 to 1.4 kg. Lower or higher of this range is pure personal customization preference.
6. Cricket Bat Blades
Blade is the main part of a cricket bat. Back part of the cricket bat blade has articulated outward ben which is known as spine. It provides weight and unbending nature to the cricket bat. Front side of the cricket bat blade provides fundamental striking surface. Thickness of the cricket blade also plays an important role in terms of performance. Thickness is divided into two categories…
- Flat Face – As it has leveled out striking area, it has more mass in the back of the bat. This in turn improves power profile.
- Rounded Face – Slightly rounded face yields less expanded profile. This is the reason why this type of cricket bat blade is more preferred by traditional players.
7. Batting Style and Sweet Spot
Before purchasing a cricket bat, it is also important to determine how you play the game – Front foot or back foot dominant. Based on the style, you can get the sweet spot positioned in order to increase the stoke play value. For front foot dominants, sweet spot should be placed mid to low. For back foot dominant, sweet spot should be placed mid to high. Below are the standard rules for sweet spot positions…
- Low Type: A perfect fit for those going for a straight and drive based shots.
- Medium Type: Usually chosen by and suited to all-rounders. This type is an amalgamated mix of low and high bat types for the sweet spot. All-rounders prefer this type to play on their front foot.
- High Type: The sweet hitting spot for the high type bats is present not in the middle but towards the handle, right below the grip. This is for players who are habituated to give a cut or hook based shots.
8. Cricket Bat Spine
It is present on the back of the cricket bat. It starts from the center of the cricket bat and runs through until the handle. It plays an important role in terms of performance and strokes. Below we have mentioned spine types and their differences.
- Higher Spine or Thicker Swell – It represents more willow mass behind the sweet spot. It provides bigger sweet spot and better bouncing.
- Mid-Spine – In this type, spine stature will be at peak in the middle section. So, willow mass is more concentrated in the center of the blade and sweet spot is placed in the mid position.
- Low Spine – The spine peak is present at the bottom of the cricket blade. So, the willow mass is more concentration around the base and sweet spot is position in the lower range.
9. Cricket Bat Edge
Edge profile of a cricket bat increases from shoulders and maximizes the sweet spot. This apex creates supreme balance and extended sweet spot. This spot covers the entire width of the blade. The choice is edge spends on the preference of an individual.
10. Toe Guard
Toe of all cricket bats is usually prone for breaks. This is particularly common whenever the batsman has to face bowling styles such as googly or yorker wherein the impact of the bat touches the high speed ball at high extremes. This will cause the willow wood to split, dent or break in total. In order to prevent such issues, players should prefer buying and fitting to their toe guard for reduced breakage risk.
11. Bat Handle
Most manufacturers use cane material to make the handle. A well-designed handle absorbs the shock created by the ball. There are several categories to consider while analyzing handle of a cricket bat. We have mentioned them below.
a) Handle Shape:
It is categorized into two types – oval and round.
- Oval – For greater alignment of your hands with the handle, it is widely claimed that an oval handle is the perfect fit. Because it prevents the bat from turning in the hand while playing a shot. This particular handle type will also give you a great feel of direction and provides an overall pickup of the bat and strength.
- Round – This type is the ideal pick for players who are handsy and want more control in their bottom hand. This is generated from a desire to flick the ball in defensive strikes and also for hard hitting.
b) Length of the Handle
Most of the senior batsmen prefer cricket bats with short handle as they provide great control over the blade. But if you are more than 6-foot-tall, then long handle is the right choice.
c) Handle Position
If the handles are positioned off-centered, then blade’s weight will get unbalanced and provides uneven grip. Make sure the cricket bat you purchase has handle that is placed in the center and thin enough to hold it comfortably.
d) Grip Material of the Handle
Bare handles can slip or twist in your hands. And moreover, they can cause sweat as well. Choosing a bat that comes with gripped handle. Common materials used for grips are…
- Carbon Fiber – This material reduces the weight of the bat. So you can hold the bat and play comfortably. It also improves durability, control and shock absorption of the bat.
- Titanium – Modern bats comes with handles that are cladded with titanium. This adds more power and control over the bat.
e) Grip Shapes
Cricket bat grips come in different shapes and design patterns. Some of the are chevron cricket bat, fish scale, crisscross, plain, dynamic and octopus. Choose any one based on your preference.
12. Natural Finish
Crickets with revealed face – means willow not covered with any face tape or anti-scruff. Most of the popular top notch brands provide natural and conventional finish to their cricket bats. Some lower grade willow bats are bleached to create natural finish. So, if you like natural finish cricket bats and analyze the willow grade before purchasing.
Here, quality does not directly imply higher price. You need to understand your requirements, what kind of batting style you have and other such factors. Then, cross check with the available options and you will end up with an option that perfectly fits your requirements and your wallet’s capability too with a very few feature exceptions.
How to Maintain a Cricket Bat?
If the bat is not properly maintained, then it will not last long. Below are some maintenance tips that ensure longevity of a cricket bat.
- Inspect the cricket bat regularly to check for any damages or signs which can be caused to lack of oiling. This can help you fix or replace the bat before it splits or breaks.
- Make sure to use only high quality cricket balls, especially when you are in nets. As it will prevent damage to the bats.
- Make sure the toes of the bat don’t get wet during real matches or net practices.
- If you observe any cracks on the edges or face, sand them and apply oil on it.
- During the season, sand the edges and blades of the cricket bat. You can use any sand paper and apply oil after it.
How to Oil Cricket Bat?
Oiling process is used for maintaining the cricket bats in good condition. Oiling maintain enough dampness in the bats to decrease the chance of splitting or parting. Below is the step-by-step procedure of oiling a cricket bat.
- Take 2 to 3 teaspoons of raw linseed oil.
- Apply it evenly on the face, edges and blades of the cricket bat.
- Avoid certain areas like splice handle, graft and labelled areas.
- Also avoid over-oiling the bat as it can weaken the fiber and affect the performance.
- Let the bat dry horizontally facing upwards for 24 hours.
Note: 3 to 4 introductory coats are required initially. And you can re-oil the bat once in 3 months.
How to Knock-In A Cricket Bat?
Knocking-In procedure ensures the fibers and grains of the cricket bat are compacted and fortified enough. Bat hammer or ball hammer is the right tool for knocking-in a cricket bat. While following this procedure, you should concentrate more on 4 main regions – face, toe and each edge. Because these territories face a lot of impact from the balls. If these regions are not properly knocked-in, then they can break within no time. Proper knocking-in prevents any damage caused by the impact of cricket ball.
You can knock-in a cricket ball manually or using a machine. Machine knocking ensures consistent knocking without missing any play area. However, if you want to knock-in the cricket bat manually, then follow the below procedure…
- Knock-In the cricket bat using a special bat mallet for 4 hours approx.
- Place special attention on toe and edges of the blade using glancing blows. These areas will harden during this process. But make sure not to hit strongly on the edges, back or toe as it will cause the damage.
- Always perform knock-in with gradual increasing force. But avoid too much force that can cause damage.
- It is better to apply fiber tape over the edges and anti-scuff sheet over the top.
- For testing the performance of the bat, use a good quality old ball. If you observe any seam marks or indentations, it represents further knocking. If not, you can enjoy the new bat.
How is a Cricket Bat Manufactured?
Compared other sporting range equipment, manufacturing a cricket bat is very length and time taking process. Below we have mentioned the process in detail.
- Special kind of wood is used for manufacturing cricket bats. So, plants are specially selected and planted in a few selected areas of India and UK. These plants should grow for at least 15 to 30 years before cutting down.
- Trees are sliced into logs and then into wedges which are referred as clefts. Cricket bat manufacturers select the clefts based on their preference and interest. Usually, most of them look for quality.
- Selected clefts are collected into a pile. Wax is applied on each end of the cleft. Later they are polished and placed in a drying room for 6 months.
- After 6 months, clefts are taken out from the drying room. Now, they are chopped into basic cricket bat shape (length and width). During this time, toe and handle ends are cut. Blade for the cricket bat is carefully selected to ensure quality and better performance.
- Once the grading and machining is done, willow is pressed. This process strengthens the willow so that it can withstand the force of speeding cricket ball. However, this pressing procedure should be don’t at right pressure. Over-compression should be avoided at any cost as it can damage the bat.
- Now handle of the cricket bat is fixed. Mostly handle is constructed from rubber strips and cane. Few modern applications also use titanium. Using high quality material for handle ensures sturdiness.
- Next process is to shape the cricket bat. Professional bat craftsman will carve the bat into vice. Along with that, craftsman will also shape the blade using draw knife. Few manufacturers utilize machinery to achieve the same. Few bats manufacturers craft higher or lower middles to provide players with better batting styles. Craftsman will also concentrate on enhancing pickup of the cricket bat.
- In the final stage, cricket bat is sanded twice. Shoulders will be shaped and blended into the handle of the bat. This makes the cricket bat well-blended and well-polished.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Few factors may look minor but have major impact on the performance of a bat. So, we always recommend choosing a reliable brand or it is better to purchase from a trust worthy vendor. Some of the best brands for cricket bat are
For leather ball, we recommend to opt for English willow cricket bat.
Knocking-In procedure ensures the fibers and grains of the cricket bat are compacted enough. This ensures the bat can handle the force and pressure of cricket ball. If knocking procedure is not done, then the bat can get damaged or split while playing.
There are several reason for cricket bats to break or split. Some of the common reasons are…
*Knocking procedure not don’t properly
*If oiling is not applied regularly
*If the edges get wet
*Low quality willow wood is used
Of all the factors that constitute the weight of any professional or normal cricket bat, the following six are the most important factors to be considered before buying a bat, Those are
Moisture content in the wood
Density of the chosen wood.
Process of how the bat is made
Curvature of the blade
Thickness of the edges
Number of grains for one bat is different from another. Generally, a typical bat would have between 6 and 12 grains on the strike side. This is an indicator of good quality. A 6 grain bat is slightly softer than a 10 or 12 grained bat.
Quality of the bat is dependent on the quality of the wood used. Highest of the quality bat is that of the English willow. Following that is the Kashmiri willow which has moderate quality and is used to make budget friendly bats. Below at the bottom of all bats is the popular willow bat. This is used to make bats for kids or for recreational usage.