What to consider when buying a cricket bat
What to look out for when buying a cricket bat
When purchasing a new cricket bat you should take into account many design elements. In order to avoid disappointment, it’s better to swat up on aspects of a cricket bat’s specification before deciding which bat is going to get you to the top of your team’s batting averages!
Do you need your bat to be pre-conditioned or covered with an anti-scuff protector? If you’re not sure then read on!
Pre-conditioned cricket bats
The majority of manufacturers have developed a range of pre-conditioned or pre-prepared cricket bats, which drastically reduce the bat preparation time for the customer.
However, although some cricket bats may claim to be ‘match-ready’, we strongly advise that you carry out the usual knocking in process and practice with some slow deliveries with an old ball before you go full blast on a match day – it is still the user’s responsibility to ensure that the bat is full prepared for game time. Beware: ‘ready to play’ does not mean invincible! Anti-scuff protected or covered bats
Most cricket specialists recommend fitting a clear ‘anti-scuff’ sheet to the blade to help minimise the effects of minor knocks. Fitting a protective cover over the middle of the cricket bat will not hinder performance but it may help to keep your bat fit for purpose – for longer. As well as offering binding qualities to small cracks, a protective sheet also safeguards the blade from additional moisture being absorbed into the bat.
Most professional-quality cricket bats offer a natural, uncovered, traditional finish. But please be wary that some cricket bats made from poor quality willow may be bleached to artificially imitate the colour of high-quality willow. Always be sure of the type of bat and the specification you are purchasing.
Number of Grains on the Bat
Please note that this should only be considered as a rough guideline as there are always exceptions, but, generally, a cricket bat with between 6 and 12 grains tends to be made from high quality willow. Cricket bats with only six grains, for example, are likely to be softer, which will lengthen both the knocking-in period and the time it takes for the bat to reach optimum performance.
English willow cricket bat vary in standard. Grade 1+ or Grade A is the highest quality of English willow, typically used by international stars but increasingly available through limited edition bats for public consumption. Knots, blemishes and markings should be minimal, while the grains will be straight, even and of a healthy number for a bat. To put it simply, this is a Test match standard cricket bat.
You then descend in quality to Grade 1 (which is still of the highest quality), Grade 2 (B), Grade 3 (C) and Grade 4. With every step down there will be more discolouration and markings, and the grains will be irregular, wobbly and plentiful. G4 cricket bats are likely to be bleached, non-oil and fixed with an anti-scuff sheet as standard.
A rough indicator would be:
G1+: Test match standard G1: Professional standard G2: Top club standard G3: Lower-league standard G4: Beginner standard
But regardless of your current level, you may want the best standard of cricket bat on the market to help you get good value for your cover drives!
Size, Shape & Pick-up
Now this boils down to personal preference. In recent years batting manufacturers have responded to the requirements of the modern game by producing a range of bats that have a thick edge and large bow, which produce maximum power without compromising on a light pick-up.
If you are a strong, front-foot driver of a ball then you could consider getting a cricket bat with a low sweet spot. However, if you score a lot of your runs aerially, you may want a higher sweet spot position.
It’s always worth picking up a bat (with gloves) and imitating your usual pick-up routine before committing to purchase. Is it light or weighty? Does it feel bottom-heavy with a low sweet spot? If the bat is extremely difficult to hold with one hand stretched out in front of you then it is probably too heavy.
If you’re an experienced cricketer then you will know whether a light or heavy bat is right for you. Even if you opt for a heavy bat, you are still likely to desire a comparatively light pick-up for that particular weight. If you are new to the game then we recommend using a bat with a lighter pick-up, so that you can play back-foot shots and front-foot shot with equal ease. For example, the cut or pull shot (back-foot, square of the wicket) is difficult to play with a heavy bat.
Don’t just take into your account your physical strength, but also your strengths as a cricketer.
The toe is the weakest part of the bat so it’s best to protect it as much as possible by applying a toe guard. If the bat is struck with a “Yorker” – a delivery that attacks the very bottom of the batsman’s blade – then it is likely to cause damage, but a toe guard could help to minimise the risk of the wood splitting. Toe guards also help to reduce the shock of a batsman tapping his bat on the ground and decreases the amount of moisture that will seep through the toe of the bat in damp conditions.
Handle – short or long?
Most senior batsmen will opt for a short handle to allow for greater control of your blade, but if you are above 6 foot 2 inches then a long handle bat is a good option – although, again, it comes down to personal choice. Sizes of junior cricket bats range from size 1 (smallest) to size 6 (largest) with “Harrow” being the intermediary size between size 6 and adult short-hand
2. What do you need to play cricket?
So you’ve just started playing the game, you’ve bought all the basic gear and you’re wondering whether there’s anything else you’ll need to add to your new kit bag. Or perhaps your child has recently taken up the game and you’re pondering what cricket equipment him or her will require to thrive and stay safe.
Cricket is not a cheap game to play, but without appropriate protective gear the chances of injury are high, so this handy checklist outlines all of the cricket equipment you will need to adequately play the game and protect yourself from a cricket ball.
ESSENTIAL: Cricket whites in the form of a white shirt and trousers are a requirement, and you’ll also need white socks, batting shorts and cricket briefs. Additionally, don’t forget a cricket jumper for those cold days and a cricket cap to shield your eyes and scalp from the sun. See our cricket clothing range for more information.
OPTIONAL: Look the part at training by purchasing a cricket hoody, trousers and training top, and why not buy a cricket base layer at the same time – all the cool cats are wearing them!
ESSENTIAL: Batting pads, batting gloves, thigh guard, inner thigh guard, abdomen guard (box/cup) and a helmet are all considered either essential or greatly recommended for hard ball cricket. If you fancy yourself as a wicket-keeper, wicket-keeping gloves and wicket-keeping pads are also essential.
OPTIONAL: Chest guards, arm guards and mouth guards (for a wicket-keeper) are a personal choice. Check out our extensive cricket protection range.
A CRICKET BAT
ESSENTIAL: Whilst some junior clubs or adult clubs may provide club bats, anyone seriously taking up the game will require their very own cricket bat – it is the cricketer’s vital instrument.
OPTIONAL: English willow bats are renowned for their quality and are generally of a higher standard than Kashmir willow bats. You may wish to add a toe guard, an extra grip to the handle or a plastic covering.
You must handle your bat with care – see our bat care guide for more information
ESSENTIAL: All cricketers should have a pair of cricket boots or spikes to avoid them slipping over in wet conditions. Even when you feel spikes are unnecessary, cricket boots should still be worn instead of trainers as they are harder and more likely to protect your toes and feet from the impact of a cricket ball.
OPTIONAL: You may wish to be a bit more meticulous with your choice of cricket boot. Some cricket shoes are tailored for specific player types, such as specialist batsman, fast bowler and all-rounder. See our Cricket Footwear collection for more information.
Obviously you’re going to need a cricket bag to store all of this equipment – our bags come in many different shapes and sizes, and include ruck sack, holdalls and wheelie cricket bags.
To make the shopping experience straight forward and cost-effective, you may wish to browse our cricket bundles.
3. How to defeat your opponent before start of play!
Get the edge over your opposition and help yourself to reach maximum performance levels by taking a gander at our following tips.
LOOK THE PART
Looking and feeling the part can improve personal confidence and help maximise performance, and it also shows the opposing side that you mean business! If you’re part of a team then you should all be wearing the same shirt, jumper and cap – winning a cricket match is a collective effort, so don’t look like a team of individuals! Our custom made clothing department may be of assistance.
PROTECT YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF!
It’s difficult to feel confident at the crease unless you are adequately protected. Everyone knows that batting pads and gloves are essential, but you’ll also need a helmet, a thigh guard, inner thigh guard and an arm guard in order to maximise your protection. With the right gear, you’ll feel like you could take on Brett Lee and Michael Holding in their pomp…well, maybe!
Check out our comprehensive range of cricket protection by eminent brands – only the very best will do when your health is at risk.
TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT
You don’t need us to tell you that practice makes perfect, so training sessions must be challenging and help develop the skills required to win cricket matches. If your club hasn’t got cricket nets, a crazy catch drill or a bowling machine, then it’s about time you organised a fundraising day so that you can purchase cricket ground equipment or club kit.
And to prove you mean business at cricket training, why not gear up with a specialist cricket training top, hoody and tracksuit bottoms. You’re also need a match-standard cricket ball to aid effective bowling practice. And for you batsmen, you can buy a range of different cricket practice balls to help train your eye and develop your technique against swing bowling.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT CRICKET BAT
Make sure you purchase an expertly crafted cricket bat with a formidable sweet spot that will ensure you get maximum value for your shots. Cricket Direct stock an unrivalled collection of high quality cricket bats at affordable prices. We’re also here to help you make the right choice, so please contact us if you have any queries.
Having a professional-standard bat will inform your opposing bowler that you’re a serious batsman. Also, ask a coach or a prominent player at your club to advise you what weight bat you should be using.
There are many smaller items of cricket equipment that are easy to forget: Sunglasses and cricket caps for sunny days; specialist footwear; and many other cricket accessories that will help you to achieve your goals. The fuller your kit bag the better, but make sure you put the hours in on the training pitch and work on your game all-year round. After all, you don’t want to be the guy who’s got all the gear and no idea!