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Cricket Bats

How To Choose Your Adult Cricket Bat?

Finding the right cricket bat for you and your game is incredibly important. If you choose the wrong size, you might get bowled more often by "yorkers" because your bat is too small or struggle to manoeuvre a bat that is too big. If you choose a bat that is too heavy, it will be difficult to move in time to play against quicker bowlers, whereas a lighter bat may mean you're through your shots too quickly and also struggle to beat the infield.

Having the right cricket bat in your hands will undeniably enhance your game and give you confidence as you walk to the crease.

In this guide, we will break down the key considerations you need to be aware of when choosing your next adult cricket bat.

How To Choose Your Adult Cricket Bat

If you're thinking of buying a new adult cricket bat, there are some key considerations you need to be aware of. In this video, Richard invites Neil Rider (Serious Cricket Managing Director and former England Women's Cricket Manager) to the channel to explain in detail what they are and why they are important so you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your new cricket bat.

Size of bat

Getting the right size cricket bat is essential. If you are more than 5 ft 9 inches and above, you will be suited to a short-handle bat. If you are shorter than 5ft 6 inches manufacturers do have an academy-size bat available for purchase. If you are shorter still, then you would be well advised to investigate the option of a junior bat.

Weight of the bat

Cricket bat weights start from 2lb 6oz and go up and beyond 3lb. Experienced players tend to go for a weight of bat they have had before and are comfortable with. Big hitters often prefer to use a heavy bat (2lb 12oz +).

As a rough guide, we would say that a light bat would weigh between 2lb 6ozs and 2lb 8oz, a medium weight bat would weigh 2lb 9oz to 2lb 11oz and a heavy bat upwards of 2lb 12oz. 

A heavier bat means more willow and more weight to your shots whereas a lighter bat means you can move the bat faster through your shots. You must work out what you think is most important to you.

A good test for bat weight is to stand up tall and hold the bat out straight at shoulder level. If you are a right-handed batter, use your top hand (left) to hold the bat straight out parallel to the ground. You should be able to hold it in this position for 30 seconds. If your arm starts to shake or you can’t hold it for 30 seconds, the bat is likely too heavy for you.

Also, if purchasing in-store, you should play some shadow shots to see how the bat feels in your hands. Do make sure you play some cuts and pulls (safely of course) as having the bat out horizontally means it is at its heaviest and is the best test to see if it is too heavy for you.

Many manufacturers now encourage players to focus on ‘pick-up’ rather than weight as new profiles and shapes mean that weight can be redistributed to enhance the feel of the bat in your hands. What might appear to be a medium-weight bat of 2lb 10oz, may pick up and feel like a 2lb 7oz.

At Serious Cricket we would always recommend going lighter than heavier if you are unsure and where possible, go to a retail outlet and test the pick-up of several bats within your budget range to give you a comparison.

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Balance or profile of the bat

Manufacturers now give you lots of choices regarding models and profiles of cricket bats. Full profiles, thick edges, round and flat faces, duckbill and concaved shapes.

Bat shapes and profiles are all about the pick-up. Does it make the bat feel lighter when you pick it up? The lighter it feels the easier it is to move around.   

It is well worth looking for a bat shape or profile that fits your style of play. Batters who play on low-bouncing wickets or prefer to play on the front foot will go for a bat with a lower sweet spot. Batters who play on bouncy wickets or prefer to play the ball on the up would go for a bat with a higher sweet spot.

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Grade of willow

Cricket bats come in different willow types. Kashmir, European and English willow. English willow is the most common type and comes in different grades of 1 to 4. 

Kashmir and European Willow bats fall mainly in the junior bat ranges but on the odd occasion, we have seen them in the adult bat range.

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English Grade Willow

A grade 1 bat tends to have 8-12 grains going across the bat. The grains will be straight or as near as possible to straight. The bat will look like a natural piece of wood, not covered or coloured and the performance of these bats is what you pay your money for. Grade 1 cricket bats offer greater levels of performance as the willow tends to be softer and so the ball ‘springs’ off the bat. However, the soft willow does mean that top-level bats may not last as long but you certainly get more performance for the money you are spending.

The rest of the grading process follows two lines of thought, how the bat looks and the performance of the willow.

Grade 2 English willow bat may have fewer grains than a grade 1 bat and may have a butterfly mark or two on the bat's face.

Butterfly mark - it is a mark on the bat that looks like a butterfly, they may be from a knot or an abnormality in the growing year - they are nothing to worry about as they make the bat knit together more solidly.

Grade 3 and 4 bats may have wider grains, be discoloured from one side of the bat compared to the other and there may be some butterfly marks or knots on the face of the bat.

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Recap - More grains in the bat the softer the bat will be and the better it will perform. The fewer grains the bat has the harder it is. One upside to harder willow is that it will last longer. To get the best performance out of harder bats, you will need to knock it in for longer. 

Top Tip - keep your eyes open as you can pick up a top-grade piece of willow at a lower price because the face of the bat does not look very appealing. The manufacturer cannot sell it as a grade 1 bat but they could sell it as a grade 3 bat. Equally, the grading of cricket bats is very much a subjective process, so you could well find some absolute guns at lower prices. It is well worth looking and testing (with a bat mallet) lower-graded bats to see if you can find those hidden gems.

Grade of bats guide

Different cricket bat models are grouped into families by manufacturers, for example, the infamous Gray-Nicolls Powerbow or the iconic Kookaburra Kahuna. Within each bat family, manufacturers will offer different grades of willow, giving consumers lots of choices when it comes to cost and performance. 

If you have any questions or would like some help choosing your next adult cricket bat, please email our team, we'd be happy to help - chris@serioussport.co.uk.