In any sport, the equipment that is used plays a very important role in achieving performance efficiency and excellence. The gentleman’s game, Cricket is no exception.
There is various equipment used by a cricketer; be it at the developmental stage or at the professional stage. Here we shall discuss any batsman’s primary equipment which is the cricket bat.
As the saying goes ‘Let your bat do the talking’, this is coined because a bat is like a ‘weapon’ for any batsman. Not literally though, here the opposition is not an enemy but a team over which one wants to assert complete dominance by means of scoring runs with the help of a bat.
Now, let us look a little more as to what goes into making a cricket bat. In order to manufacture a cricket bat, there are different types of woods that are used. The wood that is used widely across the globe is the ‘willow’.
According to international standards, a cricket bat cannot be more than 38 inches long and the width should not be more than 4.25 inches. The size of the bat ranges from 1 to 6 and then comes a full-size bat with a long and a short handle.
‘Willow’ is the word which is many a time used interchangeably for a bat.
There are primarily 2 types of cricket bats:
#1. Kashmir Willow Bats
Kashmir Willow bats derive its name from the wood or the willow which is primarily found in the regions of Kashmir, India. This type of bat is used by players at the developmental stage or by beginners.
The wood is much on the heavier side when compared to an English Willow bat. The moisture capacity of a Kashmir Willow bat is more which leads to a difference in the sound of the bat when the ball strikes it. The punch which is also known as the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat is also a little weak due to this.
The Kashmir Willow bats need very little maintenance and if one has a closer look at the blade of the bat, the grains are deeply set. These bats are priced lower and the blades of the bat are thinner than the English Willow bats.
Based on the use and wood quality it is recommended that a Kashmir Willow is used for cricketers who are in the process of improving their skills.
#2. English Willow Bats
Often called the king of ‘Willow’ because they are the best and also the finest woods that are used to make a cricket bat. These bats are made of willow trees that are grown and found in England.
The soft quality of the wood makes the bat more stable both in weight and balance. This type of bats is used mostly by professional cricketers and also by players playing at the competitive level.
The wood is lighter as compared to a Kashmir Willow bat because of a lower moisture capacity of the wood. This makes the entire bat less heavy and this acts as a nucleus to play a range of stroke play. The grains of an English Willow bat is of the best quality.
One point that needs to be kept in mind is that the higher the number of grains on the bat, the better is the performance and output. Apart from this, less grained bats tend to have more durability but at the top level durability is not a matter of much concern.
English willow bats are more expensive and are further graded from 1 to 5. The higher the grade the more expensive the bat is.
The blades are thicker of an English Willow bat which is highly suitable for hard leather balls. This also makes the sweet spot of the bat (middle of the bat) sturdy and stronger. The willow requires to be maintained properly so as to avoid drying up of the wood.
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