Cricket Bats - How to Choose the Right One

Willow

Manufacturers use different systems for grading the quality of the willow used in their cricket bats; some use star ratings while others use a numeric grading system. To avoid confusion, and to make your decision easier, we have introduced our grading system.

Moreover, the type of willow that the bat is made from affects the way the bat will perform on the field; you can choose from English willow or Kashmir willow.

Pick-up

Pick-up refers to how the bat feels, relative to its actual weight, on the back-lift swing.

Think of a sledgehammer that has its head on the ground and its handle sticking up in the air. When you try and wield it like a cricket bat it feels uncomfortably heavy. Now imagine the same sledgehammer, but with the hammerhead moved up the handle towards where you’re gripping it; it’s the same hammer with the same weight, but the back-lift is lighter.

The same happens with a cricket bat. Depending on where and how the weight of the bat is distributed, the pick-up will either feel heavier or lighter.

Factors affecting the pick-up of the bat include:

Bow

The degree of bow in a bat is a personal choice. Star international batsmen use bats with varying degrees of bow.

A noticeable bow:

  • Acts as a counter-balance, raising the centre of gravity of the cricket bat, thereby assisting pick-up.
  • Helps with control of strokes, as the player's hands are positioned more in front of the ball during contact.
  • Acts like a scoop, to produce more lofted (higher) shots, which do however run the risk of being caught

Edge Thickness

Thicker edges are more durable than thin edges, e.g. the bat’s edge is not easily damaged by inevitable miss-hits. However, thick edges do shift the centre of gravity downwards, thus affecting pick-up.

Swell Depth

The thicker the swell depth, the better rebounding qualities the bat has. In other words, a deeper swell helps to give the bat a larger sweet spot.

Swell Position

The swell position also affects the pick-up of the bat. A lower swell position equals a heavier pick-up, while a higher swell position equals a lighter pick-up.

Back Profile Concavity

Bats with concave back profiles are those that have had wood cut out from either side of the bat’s spine. This is done to reduce the bat's weight, thereby improving its pick-up. The weight loss enables the bat maker to design the bat with thicker edges and a deeper swell.

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