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A beginner's guide to buying the right cricket bat

ANALYST
6.67K   //    29 Jun 2015, 15:05 IST
How to go about choosing the right bat?

A great bat doesn’t make a great batsman – that much is true. However, without the right bat, you could be blessed with the skills of Sachin Tendulkar or Shane Watson, and still find that you’re selling yourself short of your true potential. Especially with the popularization of the new Twenty20 format, the game has literally become about who can hit the hardest and score the fastest. So how does one go about making this all important decision? Well, just go through each of the following steps:


  1. Consider your playing conditions – If you are just playing with tennis balls, a tennis cricket bat should more than suffice. If you’re playing with rubber or leather balls, however, you should consider investing in a thicker bat.

  2. Pick the right size – Choosing the right size of bat depends almost entirely on your height. Use the following table as a good rule of thumb:


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”


  1. Choosing the willow grade – All cricket bats are typically carved from willow, which is a naturally fibrous wood. In fact, the price of a bat is usually determined by the quality of willow that has been used in it. Generally speaking, the narrow grain willow provides great performance but at the cost of a reduced lifespan, whereas the broader grain willow lasts longer but takes time before it reaches its optimum performance. Willows are graded as follows:

 Grade 1+ Willow: It is the best that money can buy. The blade is unbleached and is virtually blemish free.

  • Grade 1 Willow: Top notch unbleached willow with a slightly broader grain.

  • Grade 2 Willow: Unbleached English willow with some minor blemishes and possible irregularities in the grain.

  • Grade 3 Willow: These blades are usually bleached to cover up irregular grain and blemishes.

  • Grade 4 Willow: Bleached English willows that are usually covered up with a protective facing and sold as “non oil”.

  • Kashmir Willow: Harder and dryer than English willow, so doesn’t perform as well or last as long. However, it is significantly cheaper so is recommended for beginners.

  1. Know your batting style – Companies generally make three types of cricket bats including the low, the medium, and the high. The type of bat is a reference to the position of the ‘sweet spot’ or the middle. The ‘low’ type of bat is perfect for those of you who are fond of hitting a lot of straight shots and drives. The ‘medium’ is a mix between the bats and it suits all-rounders that love to play on the front foot. The ‘high’ has a sweet spot that is further up towards your hands. It is what you would want to pull off those awesome hook shots and cuts.

  2. The handle – Picking the right handle can actually make a huge difference to your game. In theory, an oval handle will keep you aligned better and provides a better directional feel. It also improves the pickup of the bat. A round handle, in comparison, is better for wristy players who want to flick the ball around as it provides more control to the bottom hand.

  3. The toe guard – The toe on all cricket bats is rather susceptible to breakages. This is especially common when batsmen face those deadly ‘yorkers’, where the impact of a moving bat meeting a speeding ball can be extremely high. Such instances can cause the wood to dent or even split. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you buy and fit a toe guard to reduce the risk of breakage.

  4. What’s in a brand name? There are many reliable brands for cricket bats that are available in the market including Adidas, Reebok, GM, Phoenix, Spartan, Gray-Nicolls, and many more. Any of these brands will serve you well, so don’t worry too much about the brand name itself, but instead consider factors such as your budget, how serious of a cricket player you are, and whether the bat meets your performance requirements.

Finally, once you have purchased your bat, preparation and maintenance is imperative if you want it to have a long life. It is highly recommended that you oil your bat and knock your bat in. Additionally, inspect your bat regularly for any signs of damage or dryness. So, go ahead and give your batting practice the pickup it needed!

The post A Beginner’s Guide To Buying The Right Cricket Bat   appeared first on The LiveYourSport Blog.

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