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Choosing a bat   Looking after your bat    Return to New2cricket page.

Choosing a bat
Don't be tempted to buy a bat that is too big, too heavy and too expensive, thinking that it will score you more runs.
Batting is all about technique and timing, using a bat that best suits you.
So when choosing a bat, important considerations include :
Size Weight Balance Quality Where from ? Cost

Sizes - several. For the correct size look at the advice below.

The height from the ground to your wrist joint should be the same as the 'bat height' (i.e. bat + handle)
Check with a bat.
If a bat is unavailable, measure this height (ground to red line) and use the table below as a guide.
(Note - Manufacturers have their own heights for bat sizes !)

Bat height (ins)25½26¾28¼29½313232½32¾33½34¼
Bat size123456Hsshshlh

For 'Full' size only, bat handles are either supershort ssh (uncommon), short sh (most popular, suitable for juniors) or long lh.
The rubber grips on the handles are now sold in a good variety of colours. Shops can change these on your bat, but some charge. Most clubs have a member who will change it for you.

Weight It is better to use a bat that is too light than too heavy. The table below is an approximate guide for full size bats, but remember that bats made from Kashmir willow tend to be slightly heavier than English willow.
light 2 lb 4 oz - 2 lb 8 oz
medium 2 lb 8 oz - 2 lb 12 oz
heavy 2 lb 12 oz - 3 lb +

Remember to make a note of the weight, on the 'shoulder' of the bat, for when it eventually makes its final shot and has to be replaced !

Balance of the bat is of vital importance .
A well-balanced bat will feel 'lighter' during the 'back lift' (back-swing). The weight then 'reappears' when the bat comes down.
   If in a shop, play imaginary shots to get the 'feel' of the bat.

Type of Willow - English willow is considered to be superior to Kashmir willow as it gives a better performance.
Grain lines - Generally speaking a narrow grain is better for driving, but a wide grain stands up to more wear. The old professionals used to prefer between 6-8 grain lines.
Knots - One or two won't do any harm as long as they're not in the driving area. Don't get knots confused with 'butterfly stains' which denote pure willow in the best bats.
'Polyarmour' - or similar names, are where the face of the bat blade has a plastic covering. This does protect the bat, but also can prevent seeing the grain, knots and an inferior quality.

Where from ? -

  • specialist cricket shop (good choice, knowledgeable advice, can try items)
  • mail order / internet (very wide choice, usually cheaper, advice variable, can't see or try items. )
  • 'sports shop' i.e. ' tops and trainers' type of shops (can try items, but limited choice, advice minimal)

Cost - English willow is more expensive than that from Kashmir, but as other factors are involved (see above), then prices vary quite a lot. However the old saying ' the best bats cost more' is usually true.
 The really expensive bats give a superb performance, but being soft don't last long. Needless to say, the professionals use them, but being sponsored they don't pay for them !
However, by spending time looking around, you can save quite a few pounds for the bat that best suits you.

Looking after your bat
(a) Cleaning. After each match, especially in damp muddy conditions, wipe over the blade [front, back and toe - (the underneath of the blade)] with a damp cloth to remove dirt etc, and stand to dry.
(b) Oiling your bat (for bats that have a non-covered surface)
(i) When ?
At least once in mid-winter (to avoid the central heating over-drying the bat, also to prepare for indoor nets) and once more in mid-season, but never over-oil.
(ii) How ?
Put some raw linseed oil (about 50p coin size) on a piece of old rag and lightly rub all over the blade of the bat i.e. front, back and toe, but not the splice (the V-section that fits the handle to the blade). Stand the bat on the cloth.
N.B. Raw linseed oil can be bought from a good local hardware shop (e.g.Prescotts in Westfield St. St. Helens ). Don't use boiled linseed oil (e.g. from art shops)

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