Cricket bats are an essential item in playing the sport, apart from the ball. The bats used in cricket are shaped like a paddle; they are flat on one side, and V-shaped on the other. This design is meant to enhance the air circulation over the bats and make them capable of giving powerful, fast swings.
Bats are usually made with English willow due to the material’s lightweight, shock-resistant, and hardwearing properties. Linseed is also applied to the bats; this is to give extra protection, and the oil also produces plenty of friction on the ball.
The added friction then gives batters more control during the game.
Vital factors to consider when looking for a cricket bat
Skill is not enough when it comes to winning in a cricket game. A cricketer might have all the talent in the world to bring his team to victory, but wrong choices in the batting department can have an effect on his play.
This is why there are a number of factors that batsmen have to consider in terms of choosing a bat. The best cricket bats can make great batsmen too.
Here are some of the factors you need to know while selecting a bat, particularly if you are new to the sport.
Cricket bats come in a wide range of sizes. There are available sizes that will fit beginners or children, and there are sizes that are meant for senior or advanced cricketers.
Parents often make the mistake of purchasing an adult size bat for their kids when, in fact, there are entry-level bats available on the market. The size of a bat usually depends on the height of the player.
For example, Size 0 bats will fit players with a height of 4’ while Size 1 complements players with heights ranging from 4’ to 4’3”. Sizes range from 0 to 6. For adults, bat sizes are called short handle and long handle—short handles fit players with heights ranging from 5’9” while the long handle will fit players with a height of 6’ and over.
Many players believe that heavier bats are the way to go. It is certainly true back then, but now, with the innovations provided to enhance and upgrade cricket bats, you can now purchase lightweight bats that are on par with heavy models when it comes to power.
So, select a bat that you feel comfortable playing with instead. The weight of a bat has an effect in the pickup, and the same can be said about the top hand too. The left hand is said to be the top hand while gripping the bat for right-handed batsmen and the opposite can be said for left-handed players.
Hence, you must go for a bat that feels comfortable with your top hand. If the item feels heavy when you are holding it with your top hand, you better steer clear of it.
The bat’s grain establishes the age of the wood material that was used to make the bat. The recommended grains for a good, quality cricket bats is 6-8. These levels of grains will provide great stability between sturdiness and sensitivity.
While there are many players who will go for a model just because it was endorsed by their favorite player, many still prefer to opt for a bat that feels comfortable in their hands. You should understand that a majority of those professional players’ bats are custom-designed and manufactured with high-quality resources, and it just bears the sticker of the sponsor.
Thus, it is unfeasible for you to anticipate a similar quality when you acquire a certain bat that is used and endorsed by your choice player.
It is a better decision if you go after a branded model that fits your style of playing than blindly buying what your favorite player uses. These days you will find out that it is simpler to pick a bat since all top manufacturers now offer models that accommodate the varying needs and styles of cricket players.
Models vary when it comes to size, weight, grains, edge thickness, sweet spots, and other factors. Selecting the perfect bat for you is made easier since bats these days are provided with a star-rating method, based on the quality of the wood and the technology used in the manufacturer of the bat.
Higher star ratings mean it is a good-quality bat. However, just because it has a higher rating does not mean that it will complement your style or needs. Consider all of the above factors first before buying the item.
Furthermore, a majority of branded bats are partially knocked in and oiled. Some also feature anti-scuff covers which are put on the edges and the face to enhance durability.
Thus, all you have to do is knock the bat for around an hour and oil it slightly.
Preparing a cricket bat
One common issue that batsmen face is when the bats begin to show signs of wear or cracking. This is often due to the fact that it was not prepared in a correct manner.
Cricket bats are made with soft English willow. Fast, powerful hits from a ball is guaranteed to do a number on the bat. Cricket bats are not exactly inexpensive items thus, the last thing you need is for it to succumb to early wear and tear.
Here are some of the things you need to do in order to protect and maintain your bat. These steps might take some time, but remember, correct preparation and maintenance will make your investment last longer.
Oiling the bat
The oiling or greasing of a cricket bat is crucial thus, when you have to do the knocking in the procedure, the bat will not crack and give in to pressure. The oil that is applied on the item makes the bat more flexible, and it reduces tension as well so that the bat does not break or crack.
Raw linseed oil is the preferred oil, and you only need a teaspoon of the stuff to apply on the bat. Rub the linseed oil throughout the bat excluding the splice part. When the initial light coating is spread over, the bat must be left overnight in a horizontal position.
Another light coating of the oil must be applied on the bat and it should once more be left in a horizontal position overnight. Keep in mind not to overdo the oiling.
Adding a protective sheet
You can skip this procedure, but experts often recommend that batsmen do this. A protective adhesive sheet must be placed on the bat.
A majority of bats often include this sheet; hence, at the start, the entire oiling procedure applies as soon as the sheet is taken away. This protective sheet safeguards the bat from the pressure-filled impact of a cricket ball.
Then again, this sheet is optional but it is suggested that players use this during the first year of usage. Remove the sheet after a year then apply the oil on the bat.
Knocking in the bat
This is the most crucial procedure when it comes to preparing your bat. It is also the longest procedure, so make sure that you have the time for it. Take a wooden mallet and make gentle taps on the bat.
Begin in the middle of the bat; tap the bat lightly and then proceed towards its edges. The tapping must eventually become a little harder.
This procedure often takes around 4 to 6 hours to finish but some will take even longer. It is crucial to examine the bat frequently if it displays indentations on it. If you see any, minimize the power of your taps.
As soon as the whole knocking in process is accomplished, you can now test the cricket bat during a game. Begin with soft shots then execute harder ones, bit by bit.
It is also advised that you first practice with an older cricket ball so that the bat will not acquire unneeded indentations and marks. Following a couple of net sessions, you can go on with a bit of bowling with an old ball.
Then again, it is advised that you frequently inspect the bat for marks or dents. You can use newer or harder balls after a couple of sessions so it will be ready to challenge a hard cricket ball during a game. A few sessions more and the bat will be ready for a good game of cricket.
After removing the protective sheet, you must provide the bat with another light coating of linseed oil once or twice. Remember to leave the item overnight. Provide the bat another knocking on for 60-120 minutes. This procedure can be done every year until you stop using the bat.
As soon as you have bought your own bat, make sure that you followed all of these steps mentioned above. Do not rush into the game since the methods mentioned will make your bat stronger and more durable.
Furthermore, be certain that you will take time to look after the item and guarantee that it will not be exposed to moisture and extreme heat for an extended period of time.
5 Recommended Cricket Bats
Now that we are finished with all of the crucial facts that you need to know when it comes to the best cricket bats, it is time to provide you with a list of the hottest brands and models on the market right now. Here are some of the items you need to be familiar with and watch out for.
Spartan MC GLADIATOR BAT Cricket Bat
The Spartan MC GLADIATOR BAT Cricket Bat is made with quality G1 English willow and will suit the needs of junior players. It has a mid-profile with a complete spine and the smallest concaving which guarantees maximum-edged thickness and a side profile for excellent accuracy.
It also features a flat face with a moderate curve which offers a balanced distribution of power for precise shots. It has a round handle made with 9-piece cane and rubber, which provides maximum power, plus a moderately square toe which is built to boost the hitting surface area, while at the same time, lower the center of gravity of the bat.
- Made with quality English willow
- Good mid-low middle recommended for front foot play
- Very wide sweet spot
- Slight bow makes for excellent power
- Light and balanced pickup
- Satisfactory slight square toe
Not ideal for advanced cricketers.
Kookaburra Kahuna 500 Cricket Bat
The Kahuna range from Kookaburra has upgraded graphics and an enhanced silhouette. This is a lineup that has been going on for years, and every year, it is provided with fitting advancements or upgrades.
This bat is endorsed and used by British cricket player Ian Bell. It is designed from high-quality unbleached English willow, has a sweet spot of 215-235 mm, Flat Power Plus Face, a super spine, a rounded handle, and is available in short- and long-blade varieties.
- Made with prime English willow wood material
- Durable and efficient
- Excellent sweet spot and square edge profile
- Includes Power Plus Face
- Built with slight concaving
- Comfortable rounded handle with Xtreme Grip
- Available in long and short blades
Might not suit beginners or junior players due to size.
UNN & MOORE Mogul F4.5 DXM 808 Cricket Bat
The UNN & MOORE Mogul F4.5 DXM 808 Cricket Bat is made with superior GM English willow and designed/produced by the company’s excellent staff of designers and crafts persons in Nottingham, England. When it comes to manufacturing, the company ranks high due to its technological advancements.
GM merges high-tech DXM innovation with over a hundred years of experience in manufacturing goods. The product has the company’s F4.5 technology which means it has a big swell, an extended sweet spot, a Power Arc bow and a concaved back profile.
- Great big bat design
- Superior mids
- Power Arc bow was helpful
- Includes Toetek protector to safeguard against toe damage
- Has company’s DriGuard
None at the moment
GRAY-NICOLLS Supernova 500 Lite Junior Cricket Bat
The Supernova 500 Lite cricket bat is made with Grade 2 English willow. It is knocked into some extent, includes a toe guard and is also anti-scuff sheet fitted. It is designed and created in order to bring your batting game to another level.
It features an unparalleled edge profile, and a carved low blade. In addition, the product comes from Gray Nicolls, one of the most trusted names in the industry today when it comes to cricket bats.
- Made with Grade 2 English willow
- Effective contoured profile
- Better comfort with semi-oval handle
- Mid-low blade sweet spot perfect for front foot players
- Efficient edge profile
- Excellent Pro Grip makes for improved touch and feel
No complaints at this time.
GN Oblivion E41 5 Star Select Junior Bat
The Oblivion E41 is a combination of the E41 and Oblivion bats from Gray Nicolls. It has a significantly low profile, a distinctive shape and low middle for tons of power. The blade is designed with junior cricket batsmen in mind, who are after front foot plays.
It has a lighter pickup as well, and an edge profile that intimidates. This is for the true-blue cricket batsmen who want to further their batting skills.
- Made with Grade 2 English willow
- Comfortable grip
- Excellent mid-low blade bow and sweet spot
- Topnotch edge profile
- Low profile and low mid makes for nice front foot play
- Pre-prepared for players’ convenience
Will not suit the style of senior batsmen
Selecting the proper size and weight of a cricket bat is essential. The size and weight differ from one player to another; the kind of bat that a cricketer will purchase will be based on his build and his style of playing.
A player’s batting stance is one consideration that will help cricketers to establish the size and weight of the bat they must use. In fact, several modes are designed after certain batting styles to further accommodate the methods used by a batsman.
In addition, players have to take note of the grain and grade of willow that the bat is made of. English willow bats come in a variety of grades beginning from Grade 4 to high-quality Grade 1. For beginners, G4 varieties are good enough for practice.
As soon as you have graduated from beginner or Junior level play, you can then invest on the more expensive G1 varieties.
Lastly, proper preparation and maintenance are important for any cricket bat, in order for the item to last. One has to follow the required steps for preparing the cricket bat before it goes in for a fair amount of use.
Properly seasoning the bat before using it in a game will also guarantee that it will last longer. Keeping track of the steps described above will indubitably maintain the integrity of the bat.