There is no right or wrong cricket bat, just one that has the right feel for the player. They come with a wide range of features and in various sizes, but the decision which one to opt for is personal.
The size and weight of the cricket bat is what fundamentally determines the player’s game.
To select the correct size the top of the bat handle should come to the top of the thigh. This will allow the player to take guard with their bodyweight evenly balanced on both feet and have their eyes inline with the bowler.
Bats range in weight from 1lb 11oz for a junior bat up to 3lb 4oz for the heaviest full size bat. The strength, size and age of the player will determine which weight of bat is suited to them. The ease of pick-up should also be considered and is more important than the actual weight of the bat. It is advisable to try a number of different bats before making your choice, as each player will prefer a different ‘pick-up’.
It is the pick-up or feel of the bat that affects its control, which should be carried out with the batsman’s ‘top-hand’ on the bat handle. This is the left hand on a right handed player. It is a sign that the bat is too heavy if the batsman cannot play a stroke with only his top hand.
Balance and Curvature
There is a slight curvature to the bat face, which is presented at the point of impact with the ball, which alters the cricket bats performance and balance. Variances in handle thickness and types of manufacture also change the bats performance giving different models varied flexibility and feel.
Willow is the soft, grained wood used in the manufacture of cricket bats. For optimum sensitivity and durability 7 or 8 grains should be displayed across the bat’s face. A less sensitive but more durable bat would have less grains, whilst more grains would make the bat more sensitive but less durable.
For the bat to be ready to hit a hard cricket ball it should be respectfully prepared. It needs to be lightly oiled with raw linseed oil and then knocked in. Knocking in is carried out with an old cricket ball or a cricket bat mallet to compress the Willow fibres on the face and edges of the bat.
There are a large range of cricket bat manufacturers such as Gray-Nicolls, Kookaburra, Nike, Puma and Slazenger to name but a few. Many use a star rating to give and indication of the quality of a bat. More stars would suggest a better quality of both Willow and technology of a bat.