Buying a cricket bat is almost a sacred journey for any cricketer. A new bat represents fresh hopes for a successful season and some even go as far as to believe in superstition when it comes to their pre-season preparation.
Finding the right bat is crucial, though. The wrong, size, weight or pickup can impact your performance at the crease, and a good-looking bat is always a confidence booster when you’re walking out to the middle. In this guide, we’ll explore the different factors that you should consider when browsing the range of cricket bats out there.
Cricket bats come in a range of sizes, from size 1 to long handle. Sizes 1 through 6 are junior sizes created for kids to learn the skills as they grow. Harrow is the next size up, typically used by teenagers as a bridge between junior bats and adult bats.
Most adult bats come in two categories – short handle and long handle. Short handles are best for any batters between 5ft 8” and 6ft 2”, whereas long handles or long blades are designed with the giants of the game in mind – usually anyone 6ft 3” and above. Ensure you pick the right size for you, otherwise, your balance, swing and performance can be thrown off.
Just as sizes differ, so do cricket bat weights. Most bats are handcrafted which leads to different weights because of varying shapes and wood densities. Lighter bats can weigh as little as 2lb 6oz, heavier ones can weigh up to 3lb (but many would do well swinging those above ankle height).
Medium weights around the 2lb 9oz – 2lb 10oz are the most popular because of their balanced pickup – another important consideration which we will discuss next. If you don’t know how the different weights feel then play around with some different bats and get a sense of what weight suits your style and strength.
Pickup is associated with weight but it’s a crucial thing to consider when choosing a bat. It refers to how a bat feels when you lift it and set yourself in the batting position. You can test pickup by holding a bat as you would at the crease and playing some strokes to gauge how it feels in motion and stationary.
Ideally, you should be able to control the movement of the bat sufficiently without it feeling too light or too heavy. Again, it’s best to have a play around with different bats and see which suit your style.
Finally, the brand can be important for some players because it impacts the aesthetic of the bat. The most popular brands in the UK are classics like Gunn & Moore and Gray-Nicolls, but there are rising numbers of independent bat manufacturers and newer entrants to the market that give buyers greater choice.
If you’re searching for your next bat, see what catches your eye but don’t buy it on aesthetics alone – ensure you consider the above factors before you buy anything. Good luck!