Selecting a cricket bat, especially the first time, can be bewildering. There is a huge array of manufacturers and grades and they may appear identical at first, but there are key points to consider when choosing a bat that is right for you. Read on to learn more about how to choose a cricket bat.
You should always take into account your budget, your physique, your playing style and the level of match you will be playing in. A perfect, well-chosen cricket bat should help you hit the boundary more often and score lots more runs!
There are specific important factors to consider when buying a cricket bat online and this post will hopefully help you make an informed decision by reporting on factors such as match conditions, bat weight and profile, physique of the batsman, handle and toe protection and finally choosing the willow grade of your bat.
Choose the Right Bat for the Right Conditions
Are you playing a serious county or club match? Are you practising to improve your cricketing skills? Or are you playing with friends for fun? If you are playing for fun with say, tennis balls, then a tennis ball cricket bat will be ample for your purposes. However, you should choose a thicker bat with a more massive edge profile if you are playing a proper match with leather balls.
Selecting the Optimum Weight and Profile of the Bat
In the modern game, the emphasis is on the thickness of the blade.
The ultimate cricket bat should have a thick edge profile with a light ‘dead weight’. But this is actually something of a Holy Grail in cricket. Heavier bats will have more mass and thicker edge profiles, enabling farther distance on the shot. However, they require more brute strength to wield.
Conversely, lighter bats are easier to swing but offer less power on the shot. Finally, everybody is different and your weight, height and strength will also play a factor in how to choose a cricket bat.
No one can tell you what weight or profile of cricket bat is right for you. You will know if it is comfortable when you pick it up.
The sweet spot of the bat is located in the middle of the blade and is the highest performance portion of the blade to strike the ball. Different bats have varying sizes of sweet spot depending upon other factors and requirements. When you strike the ball powerfully and accurately with the minimum effort, you will have found a bat with the right sweet spot for you.
Consider the Height and Weight of the Batsman
Physically everybody is different; a taller batsman will feel more comfortable wielding a larger bat than a short person would and vice versa. Also, it is important to consider the age of the batsman. Most manufacturers will have junior and senior level bats of varying sizes. Knowing your own body’s size and strengths and weaknesses will help determine which bat is for you. Use the chart below as a rough guide.
|Cricket Bat Size Chart|
|Bat Size||Approx. Age||Height (in Feet)||Bat Length (inches)||Bat Width (inches)|
|1||4-5||Up to 4’3”||25 ¾”||3 ½”|
|2||6-7||4’3” – 4’6”||27 ¾”||3 ½”|
|3||8||4’6” – 4’9”||28 ¾”||3 ¾”|
|4||9-11||4’9” – 4’11”||29 ¾”||3 ¾”|
|5||10-12||4’11” – 5’2”||30 ¾”||4”|
|6||11-13||5’2” – 5’6”||31 ¾”||4”|
|Harrow||12-14||5’6” – 5’9”||32 ¾”||4 ¼”|
|Short Handle (SH)||15+||5’9” – 6’2”||33 ½”||4 ¼”|
|Long Handle (LH)||15+||6’2” and above||34 ¾”||4 ¾”|
Handle of the Bat
Cricket bat handles are very important and your style of play will determine which type of handle you should choose. Handles come in two varieties: oval and round.
Oval handles – are strong and can help the bat absorb impact when hitting the ball hard or playing a defensive stroke against a fast delivery. These handles are good for strategic players, who like to occupy the crease, defend their stumps and weight to thump any loose deliveries to the rope.
Round handles – are more twisty and light. They make it easier to flick the ball around and hit it over the top as they allow more control of the bottom hand. Good for stroke players who like to hit the ball around.
Don’t Stump Your Toe!
the toe of a cricket bat is the end of the blade of the bat, opposite from the handle. This area is susceptible to damage such as when the batsman is playing a downward defensive stroke to block out a yorker. Therefore, it is highly recommended to purchase and fit a decent toe guard to minimise damage and extend longevity.
How to Choose the Willow Grade of your Bat
Cricket bats are almost always carved out of willow – a naturally fibrous wood – and choosing the right grade of willow for your bat is also an important factor to consider. Generally speaking, the grade of willow used will determine the price of the bat. On the whole, narrow grain willow will give a great performance early but does not last as long. Broad grain willow will last longer, however it takes longer for the bat to ‘knock in’ and reach peak performance. Willow bats are graded below:
- Grade 1+ Willow: This is the best you can get but also the most expensive. The blade is unbleached and is practically free from imperfections.
- Grade 1 Willow: Superb unbleached willow with a slightly broader grain.
- Grade 2 Willow: Unbleached English Willow with some small faults and minor aberrations in the grain.
- Grade 3 Willow: These blades are normally bleached to mask uneven grain and blemishes.
- Grade 4 Willow: Bleached English willows normally covered with a protective “non-oil”.
- Kashmir Willow: Harder and dryer than English willow. Lower performance and less longevity. However, its low price makes it recommended for beginners.
Finding the Right Bat Is Not Always Easy
Clearly, purchasing a cricket bat requires careful consideration and presents a lot of options. It takes time, information, self-knowledge and application to make the right choice. Most players try a few different bats before finally settling on a favourite weight and/or edge profile. It is important to understand that cricket is a learned discipline and that choosing the right bat is a part of that learning curve for everyone, so you are not alone. Keep at it. By reading blogs such as this one, you are demonstrating a commitment and the will to learn more.
If you’re stuck for a final decision and need more information on a specific bat or manufacturer, be sure to check out some of our reviews here on Andromeda Cricket.
Finally, though, if you’re a beginner, it may be best to go with a pre-treated bat. Not all bats will come ready to play with and can easily break if not treated properly, or ‘knocked in’, first. Bats that have already received this treatment will be the ones you should search for.
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