Many young cricketers come to cricket academies with the wrong cricket bat. When we say the wrong bat, it means the wrong size, weight, or even type of willow. All of these factors can have a significant impact on the performance of the game. Budding cricketers should invest in quality premium cricket equipment that will help improve their game.
Let us begin with the type of willow (wood).
English (White) Willow and Kashmir Willow are the two most common types of wood used in the production of cricket bats. Willow is the only wood having the strength and compression required for a cricket bat. The performance of the two types of bats differs significantly.
English and Kashmir willow trees are native to England, but their locations differ. The English Willow tree is grown in the East Anglia region of England, whereas Kashmir willow trees are grown in the Kashmir region of northwestern India.
English willow is grown specifically for the production of cricket bats, and it is noticeably different from Kashmir willow bats. The English willow is white, whereas the Kashmir willow is brownish. Kashmir willow bats are heavier than English and are less expensive to purchase. They don’t ‘ping’ like English willow bats, and junior cricketers don’t get as much bang for their buck as Kashmir Willow bats.
Cost of Willow Grading
Because wood comes in different grades, some cricket bats are more expensive than others. As a general rule, the softer (narrow grain) willow has excellent performance qualities. Still, it has a shorter lifespan, whereas the harder (broader grain) willow lasts longer but takes time to reach peak performance. Each willow piece is graded as follows:
- The best Grade 1+ English Willow available – This is the best willow money can buy. The blade is unbleached and has 8 to 12 straight grains with no blemishes. Junior bats are extremely rare when made from Grade 1+ Willow (Player’s Grade).
- Grade 1 English Willow – Unbleached English willow of the highest quality. The same as above, but with a slightly wide grain and a slight red edge. On the face, there are usually 7-10 straight grains, Unbleached English willow with some minor blemish redwood on the edges and few irregular grains. Again, 6 to 10 grains are possible.
- Grade 3 Willow – Some of these bats will be bleached English willow to hide irregular grain and blemishes.
- Grade 4 Willow – This is bleached English willow that is often wrapped in a protective facing and marked as a “non-oil” bat.
- Kashmir Willow – Because Kashmir willow is naturally hard and drier than English willow, it does not perform as well or last as long. This bat is ideal for use as a starter bat against a softer ball (Incrediballs, Wonderballs, etc.) For these reasons, they are inexpensive and used by many Rookie levels or Under 12 C and D grade players. Players do not achieve the best results when using these bats to hit a leather cricket ball.
One must Buy English Willow Cricket Bat always from authentic and trustworthy sellers.
A heavy bat will make it difficult for a young player to lift and swing, limiting them to playing horizontal blade shots like the cut and pull. Senior players make the same error, and you should never buy a bat without first having the player pick it up. Bats may weigh the same, but depending on the shape of the blade, they can pick up very differently. Bats of senior players typically weigh between 2lb 7ozs and 3lb 2ozs.
Size, The size of the willow bat depends upon the age and height of the player playing the game.