How to buy a Cricket Bat? Care, Maintenance and Which Brand to Buy?
How to buy a Cricket Bat?
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is just around the corner and fans are eagerly awaiting highly competitive World Cup round robin league format. Ten Teams playing each other means every match becomes important for qualification for Semis. Although 50 overs ODI are not less run feasts but T20 Cricket has become mostly (if not all) Batsmen dominated sports. Bat manufacturers are trying to out do each other with incorporation if latest trends / technologies while remaining within the confines of laid down laws by MCC .
For any Batsman it has become essential to get a customized bat matching his / her batting techniques to perform well at highest level of Cricket. Plethora of terms confuse an ordinary person with various brands, terms, weight of the bats etc which makes it difficult to take simple decision of choosing a Cricket Bat. Therefore, we are providing a definite guide to choose a cricket bat to suit your requirements and style.
After reading this blog you will understand
- What different segments of Bat mean for stroke play (blade, profile, scallop, edges etc)
- What size of bat to choose?
- What is the difference between English Willow and Kashmir Willow
- What are Grains and grades of English willow
- Where and how bats are manufactured.
- What is a front foot bat / backfoot bat.
- How to take good care of bats?
- Which brand or brands are best?
A. Edge Profile
Massive Big Edge profile which increases from the shoulders and maximises at the sweet spot, generating supreme balance with an extended sweet spot that covers the entire width of the blade. Edges cant be more then 40mm as per ICC’s regulation. Maximum dimensions of a cricket bat will be 108mm in width, 67mm in depth.
C. Middle of the Bat (Sweet Spot)
This is the spot where blade’s performance is at peak. Efforts are made to spread the Sweet spot across the length of blade so that even if it is not MIDDLE of the BAT still performs like hit from the middle of the bat.
Increasing Profile for impact without increasing weight requires scallops on either side of the spine to allow extension of apex. Scallops helps in reducing rotation of bat if not hit at Sweet Spot.
E. Face Profile
Flat Face “ It is a straight bat with flat striking area, which maximizes power profile and assists in stroke play.
Curve Face: Traditional players most often prefer curved Face Bat.
The curve of the bat from the tip of the handle to theÂ end of the toe. Designed to enhance the position ofÂ the hands by placing them ahead of the ball, whichÂ is essential for good stroke play.
G. Toe is the bottom of the blade and the part of the bat that rests on the ground. Toe is most vulnerable part of a Cricket Bat. Hence Toe breakage is very common problem. Another essential part of toe is the Toe guard. Toe guard prevents moisture or dew entering the toe of the bat when you play on turf surface.
The toe of the cricket bat comes in two shapes:
- Flat toe
- Round toe
When Choosing which Willow Bat to Buy.
- Kashmir Willow is from willow trees grown in India/Pakistan.
- Kashmir willow bats are cheaper and heavier than English Willow Bats.
- English Willow Bat average weight is 1150 to 1300 grams while Kashmir willow weighs 1250-1350 grams.
- Kashmir Willow has more moisture as compared to English Willow.
- Kashmir willow is not the same level as top – grade English willow in grain quality & structure.
If you are playing for recreational purpose then Kashmir willow bats might be enough but English Willow Bats are better, softer, durable and better grain quality. Malomaal.pk provide English Willow Bats at very reasonable price from Sialkot manufacturers with free delivery worldwide. We also offer custom made Cricket Bats and Blades on demand.
Verdict: Buy English Willow Bats
Short Handle vs Long Handle
Always select bat according to your height.
What are the Grains on Cricket Bat?
- Cricket Bats are made of English Willow (mostly), grains on the bat indicate the year cycle of the tree from where the blade is made.
- Grain closer to each other means low growth per year by the tree while wide a
part grains mean fast growing tree.
It is recommended that a blade should have 7+ grains minimum to withstand impact of cricket ball at highest level. We provide 7+ grains Cricket bats to our customers with grade-1 quality English Willow.
English Willow Grades
Grade 1 / 1+ Willow (7 to 14 Grains):
This is the best and highest quality of English Willow that money can buy. The blade of this Willow contains 7-12 straight and even grains. The wood would be unbleached with blemish free natural finish. It means the blade would have minimal to no marking or discoloration on the bat face. At Malomaal.pk we only deal with Grade-1 and 2 English Willow for Bats.
Grade 2 Willow (Min 6 Grains):
A Grade 2 Willow blade also makes a very good quality Cricket Bat. This is unbleached English willow with a slight irregular grain patterns. It has at least 6 straight grains on the face of the blade. It normally has a larger amount of red wood on the edge of a blade. But this doesn’t affect the playing ability of the Cricket Bat. It may come with some blemishes, pin knots or speck. Grade 2 Willows also provide some excellent quality butterfly blades.
Grade 3 Willow (Min 5 Grains):
This is usually unbleached English Willow with irregular grain pattern. It has minimum 5 grains on the face of the blade. It may not always be perfectly straight. A Grade 3 Blade has up to half color across the blade. It doesn’t affect the playing ability of the Bat. Some small knots or butterfly stain may be present with speck. It might have some marking and discoloration on the blade.
Grade 4 Willow (Min 4 Grains):
This is bleached English willow. It has minimum 4 grains on the face of the blade. A Grade 4 Blade is normally contains over half color or butterfly stain. It still plays as well as the other grades. The Willow containing butterfly stain is generally considered very strong. There could also be more speck and other faults. It is often covered up with a protective facing and sold as non oil
Where bats are manufactured
Due to low cost of manufacturing and expertise of local manufacturer Sialkot, (Pakistan’s City) is hub of Cricket Bats manufacturing in the world. In many parts of World use handmade cricket bats are manufactured but trend is decreasing day by day.
The Cricket Bat is traditionally made from naturally fibrous willow wood. Its specifically made from a variety of White Willow called Cricket Bat Willow (Salix Alba var. caerulea). The Willow is treated with raw linseed oil due to its protective function. This variety of willow is used due to its toughness and shock-resistant properties. It neither gets dented nor splintered on the impact of a cricket ball at high speed easily. Its also very light in weight which is a huge plus point.
- Trees chopped into Logs are then split into wedges called clefts. We select carefully which sort of cleft is best for manufacturing of bats at malomaal.pk.
- Then cleft are waxed on each end. It prevents the loss of any water moisture and splitting.
- Clefts are placed in drying rooms. After drying for 6 months, the clefts are removed from the rooms. Now the clefts have reached the required moisture levels.
- Clefts are cut into the basic shape of a cricket bat.
- Correct length and width are necessary.
- The handle and toe ends of the bat are ready by this time. The blade is selected from the best end of the willow. It provides a quality cricket bat and better performance.
- Now Willow is pressed as it improves the strength so it can bear the impact of a Cricket ball.
- Too much compression of Cricket Bat must be avoided.
Fitting the handle:
- Handle is constructed of cane and rubber strips. Recent technological innovations make it possible for carbon fiber and titanium to be utilized occasionally.
- The handle constructed by carbon fiber and titanium materials add strength to the structure and generate more power in the shots.
- Bat is sanded manually or mechanically.
- Craftsmen use their skill to shape the blade.
- Shape of the blade enhances the pick-up also affects the weight of the cricket bat and ensures a good overall
balance. The shoulders of the Cricket Bat are shaped and blended to give the correct shape and structure.
- Bat gets a polish to the surface by using a horse’s shin bone. This compresses the cricket bat further and provides a nice polished finish. It also increases the overall presentation of the Cricket Bat.
- Last step is adding Rubber grips and manufacturer’s logo to the Bat.
For Young Cricketers (till 16 years) light weight are best for developing sound techniques. For 16+ you can choose according to your style and convenience. Cricket light bat will weigh between 2lb 6oz and 2lb 9oz, a medium bat will weigh 2lb 9oz to 2lb 11oz and a heavy bat between 2lb 11oz and 3lb.
What is difference between front foot bat and back foot bat
There is no such thing but few manufacturers propagate that which bat is better for front and back foot. Technicalities aside every batsman will have to play on both front and back foot hence even if some bat has been customized for either foot then itâ€™s still useless.
Preparing a Bat and Its Maintenance
Bat must be thoroughly prepared before it is put to test in match. Proper preparation of bat prolongs its life and saves you precious money spent on buying these expansive cricket bats. Preparation can be sub divided into two parts as following:-
Part 1: Oiling Your Cricket Bat
- Using a soft rag, apply a light coat of oil to the Face, Edges, Toe and Back of the cricket bat. AVOID getting oil on the splice of the bat as it may undermine the glue holding the handle and blade of the bat together!
- Avoid over oiling the cricket bat.
- After the coat of oil has been applied, leave the cricket bat in a horizontal position to dry over night.
- On the next day, apply a second coat, following the same directions as the first one. Leave to dry.
- Try and oil your bat regularly to keep the fibers of the wood supple and prevent the
face of the cricket bat cracking.
- If applying anti-scuff cover oil only once, very lightly.
- Apply Toe guard to protect Bat from moisture
- If the cricket bat you have just purchased has an anti-scruff cover, the face will not need oiling. However the back of the cricket bat will need oiling.
Part 2: Knocking Your Bat In:
- After purchase, all cricket bats should be knocked in to prepare them for use in competitive matches.
- The edges, toe and blade of the bat all need to be sufficiently knocked in, as these areas face large amounts of impact from the cricket ball, therefore making them vulnerable to breakages and damage.
- Knocking your cricket bat in is an effective way of ensuring that the bat has been compacted enough to prevent impact damage.
- Must not be rushed and done carefully. Knocking your cricket bat in is effectively ensuring that the wood of the bat is compact as the fibres are compressed and knitted together. Consider the following steps when knocking in:
- Using a hardwood bat mallet, gently strike the face and the edges of the cricket bat, simulating what the ball would do in a competitive game situation.
- Repeat the above on multiple occasions, gradually increasing the power. Use the same method as above to round the edges of the cricket bat, but be careful. Avoid using too much power to begin with as this could result in unnecessary damage.
- Do not hit the edge directly with the mallet, gradually round the cricket bat off. It is important to knock the edges of the bat in as they can often be vulnerable to damage during competitive matches and net play.
- After 2-3 Hours of knocking the cricket bat in, you can take it to the nets and hit some short catches using an old ball. If seam marks or small indentations appear on the face of the cricket bat, it would be necessary to return to the first step.
- After continuing to knock the cricket bat in and completing some close catching sessions, you could try the bat in your normal net practice.After a few net sessions, your cricket bat should be ready to use in a competitive match.
After knocking your bat in, you may wish to add a protective cover to the cricket bat. This should be positioned and fitted approximately 3-5mm from the toe of the bat, with the cover running up the face of the cricket bat and finishing just below the bat manufacturers labels.
Bats that come “pre-knocked” in or “pre-prepared”. This means that the manufacturers have employed some special machinery to compress the bats and mimic the “Knocking-in” process. However all manufacturers will still recommend cricket bats be knocked in for a short duration. Instead of knocking the bat in for long periods of time using a hardwood bat mallet, you could conduct some short practice slip catches using an old cricket ball. Knocking the face in further will be beneficial in developing the cricket bats overall performance.
Regular checkup is must
- Inspect your bat regularly for any signs of damage or dryness due to a lack of oiling. This way you can utilise preventative measures before your cricket bat breaks.
- When in the nets, ensure that the bowlers are using high quality cricket balls; this will avoid damage being caused to your cricket bats.
- Avoid getting the toe of the bat wet during matches and net practice.
- If cracks appear on the face and the edges of the cricket bat, sand them out and apply a covering of oil.
- During the course of a season, sand the blade and edges of the cricket bat twice using sandpaper. Then apply covering oil.
Which Brand to Buy?
With plethora of brands, technical terms, grade, profile etc; one gets confused which brand is best to buy. So lets answer that question:-
- Brands are just names with those who endorse them, Stickers are fancy and different but heart of the matter is BLADE. All brands are in structure and specs are almost same. Therefore, a bat endorsed by Michael Clarke might not be good for your style of batting.
- The bat needs to have a face that is smooth, with at 7 or more grains, knotless, decent thickness of the edge and most importantly, a light pick up.
- CA Sports -Pakistan
- Spartan– Michael Clark / MS Dhoni Edition
- MRF– Virat Kohli Edition
- CEAT – Rohit Sharma’s Edition
- SS Ton – India
- Adidas– England
- Newbery Kudos2 – England
- GM – England
- Kookaburra -Australia
- DSC – India / Sri Lanka
- Malik Bat – Pakistan
- Ihsan – Pakistan
Malomaal.pk (Sports Department) provides quality Pakistani Cricket Brands and other international brands with Top Quality English Willow (Grade1/2)/ We deliver all Cricket Bats free Worldwide.