It’s no secret that cricket is quite a popular and widely-known sport. People of all ages love it, and it’s all for a good number of reasons. Not only is it super fun, but it is also a great activity for improving your stamina, flexibility and balance. It aids in the muscle toning process, and, it is excellent for social bonding as well.
When it comes to sports, choosing the right activewear and equipment is the first crucial step you have to make. In this case, for cricket, the most important piece of gear you have to get is your own suitable bat.
Things to Consider When Getting a Cricket Bat
A question that will come up to mind is – How do I pick the right cricket bat? Well, there is no simple answer to it. You have to take your time when choosing from a vast array of top-quality adult cricket bats to ensure proper gameplay. But, in order to do it right, you have to be aware of the main features and other things that make up a good bat.
Let’s start off with the shape and size. A rule that applies here and which every cricketer should follow is – the overall length of the bat should always be right below the waist of the player. As an adult, you can probably tell if you are making a good choice or not, but in this case, it is safe to follow general guidelines, because no one size fits all. So, a smart thing you can do is get a bat according to your height. For instance, people that are around 5’3’’ usually pick a size 6 bat.
As for the shape, it entirely depends on your personal preference. With regular practice, you will be able to tell just what your strength is and where exactly do you hit the ball. That will help in determining the shape. Some people also like to boost their confidence and go for aesthetically pleasing bat shapes.
Another thing you should put into consideration is the materials. Usually, most senior cricket bats are made out of English or Kashmir ( Indian ) willow. The English kind is usually more recommended because of its’ significant soft structure which allows for much higher performance. Not just that, it is also very durable as well. Kashmir willow on the other hand is a harder variety and it is not very preferred.
Now, putting aside the willow type, the willow grade should also be chosen carefully. Grade 1+ is the best one you can go for, however, it is the most expensive. It is unbleached and comes with 8 or more straight grains. Grade 1 is also an unbleached blade with a broad grain, sometimes accented with a red-coloured edge. Grade 2 willow is an unbleached kind that comes along with some blemishes, an irregular grain and a red edge. Slightly bleached bats for cover-up fall into the category of Grade 3 willow, and finally, Grade 4 are all bleached bats that are additionally covered with a protective layer. A cane that is wrapped up in twine or mixed with rubber inserts is the main constructive material of the cricket bat handle.
Next up, a very crucial thing to put in mind is the weight of the bat. A rule that applies here is that the cricketer should be able to pick up, hold and swing the chosen bat without any signs of struggle. It is obvious that if it is even slightly heavy, it will surely impact the performance of the player badly. Now, there are guides you can follow here as well, but the best thing you can do is try out the bat yourself. Don’t be afraid to pick it up, feel it, swing it freely and pay attention to how the weight in it is distributed. It should feel light and easy to handle.
The ball type can also play a role in determining the bat type. Cricket can be played with several different balls. It can be a tennis ball, a leather, a foam or a rubber ball. The heavier the ball – the more you will be needing a thicker and sturdier bat.
Lastly, pay attention to the handle. Understandably, a cricketer must choose a proper bat handle in order to be able to perform greatly. Again, this is all up to you. Rounded handles are much easier to control and make the best choice for power hitters. Oval shaped handles are also an option, but they might be challenging for some people as they don’t offer a good grip.
Tips on Bat Care
The care and maintenance process is entirely the same for both junior and adult cricket bats. It consists of two main parts: preparation oiling and knocking in.
Oiling is very important for keeping balanced moisture levels. It is a process that does wonders in preventing potential cracks and splits. Without regular oil-ups, the performance of the bat will significantly decrease. It’s important to note that over-oiling is also a big no, as it will make the blade similar to a sponge. Balance is key here. This procedure consists of several simple steps:
- Application – A cloth should be used when applying the oils to the toe, face, back and edges of the bat.
- Drying – After you have applied the oils, you should leave the bat to dry for a 12 to 24 hour period.
- Reapplication – A second and third coating is preferred after the drying period has finished. Note that the blade should be allowed to absorb the oils after each application.
The other procedure is known as knocking in. It is done so the fibres in the bat are knitted together and strengthened in order to be able to endure a significant amount of impact. This step should not be skipped and should never be rushed. To do this, you will be needing a bat mallet. You should begin with a gentle stroke on the edges and face. This should be repeated over several hours, each time intensifying the hitting. After this is finished, you should move on to hitting the cricket bat with a ball of your choice. Eventually, regular practice should be the final stage of knocking in. Note that you can always hire a professional to do this process for you.
So, if you are truly ready to get into the world of cricket, you should be prepared to know how to pick out the proper cricket bat and other essential equipment for a boosted performance. Other than that, motivation and a good spirit are all you will need.