Cricket is a wonderful sport for many reasons, one of which is that you will always find a village team happy to welcome beginners, whether you are 16 or 56. The village cricket scene is alive and well for amateurs, and if you’re a young, aspiring cricketer who wants to progress, the county and club scene offers plenty of opportunities.
There are some downsides as a beginner, and it can be really tough to choose the right equipment if you don’t really know a lot about the sport and playing the sport. That’s where we come in. Our guide shows some of the best cricket bats for beginners so that you can choose the ideal model to suit your needs.
Another downside is the potential price of the bat. A lot of the very best cricket bats are very expensive. If you’re a beginner, you’ll already have to spend money on whites and pads. Spending £500 on a bat is not really an option for a lot of people, and it isn’t justified for a hobby you’ve only just started.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through some of the best cricket bats for beginners, but first, a buying guide to help you to make the right decision.
How to Choose a Beginner Cricket Bat
Looking through a cricket store can be really overwhelming. There are so many different bats, sizes, designs, weights… It is really easy to make a mistake. Once you’ve bought the bat as well, you need to know a little about bat care such as knocking in to ensure that the bat stays in good condition. If not, you might buy a bat only to have it get damaged the very first time you use it.
Let’s try to demystify some of the terms and help you to find the right bat.
If you want a hard ball cricket bat it really needs to be made out of some form of Salix Alba Willow. English Willow is historically popular, but many cricket bats, like the Village Cricket Bat, are now made out of Kashmir willow. This is the exact same tree species as English Willow but grown in India. It is more affordable, and the environment it is grown in gives it a slightly harder and darker character.
The grade of the wood is also crucial. The higher the grade, the more expensive the bat is likely to be. High grade bats tend to be used by the professionals rather than village players. Read more about grades below.
What do all these sizes mean when you are looking to buy a bat?
It doesn’t have to be too difficult. For a junior bat, you can follow our guide to the size. For a senior bat, the majority of people will just want an SH bat, which means short handle. LH bats are also an option if you are particularly tall, they’re designed to feel more comfortable for players over 6’3”.
Bat weights can vary greatly, from around 2lb 7oz up to above 3lb.
This is one of the areas where beginners will usually want to get something versatile but also steer clear of heavier bats they don’t know that they can handle. Between 2lb 7oz and 2lb 10oz should give you a versatile bat to get you started
Pick Up and Middle
These terms relate to what it feels like when you hit the ball and how well you will connect with certain deliveries. A low middle suits a lower bounce, and helps you to get the “pick up” you need to hit the ball further.
Some bats are also designed with curvature to help get more power and loft into the shots. Though it is a case of working out what you like, if you are playing on English village pitches, a low middle may help you to play your shots.
Is brand important? Well, it can be an indicator of quality, and some brands have worked really hard to protect their reputation for making brilliant bats.
Brand certainly isn’t everything. The important thing is to find a well-made bat, and to get one that is good value, you might want to ignore some of the big brands, who have their own sponsorship and marketing costs to deal with, that are inevitably passed to the consumer.
There are a lot of smaller brands doing great things in the world of cricket and cricket equipment.
How much are you going to spend on your bat? Honestly, if you go into the market hoping to get something for £30, you aren’t going to find a bat that can even cope with a hard cricket ball. It will break, and it isn’t worth it.
Instead, it is worth investing a little more for a bat that is going to last. However, you don’t have to spend £500 to get a great bat to help you score thousands of runs.
Our Advice for a Beginner Bat
When you choose a cricket bat for the first time, you need to focus on versatility and affordability. We don’t recommend spending a fortune on your first ever bat, and on top of that, you may not know much about your style yet.
A lot of cricketers develop their own specific way of playing, you might try to play big shots and rack up huge scores, or you might just be happy waiting and playing at your own pace to try and build up a score gradually. You may be more of a “touch” player. Some bats are designed to suit each style of play, and some can handle any style. When you don’t really know what you like or which bat feels natural, it is a good idea to pick something versatile.
The Village Cricket Bat
There’s no need for a beginner to spend a fortune on a new bat, and you can get a versatile model without having to spend a ridiculous amount. In fact, with the Village Cricket Bat, you can get a reliable willow bat, capable of dealing with the hard ball, for under £100.
The bat is made out of Salix Alba Willow, which means that it is much more affordable to produce, and those savings can be passed on, but it is still an exceptional bat with the same durability (if not more) than English Willow.
The 2lb 9oz design is versatile, so allows touch players and delicate strikers of the ball to play their shots, but also allows you to generate great bat speed and connect with sixes and fours.
This is a beginner bat, but it is also good enough to keep you scoring runs for years to come. It has been designed to stand up to the hard ball and comes with its own bag. It’s also knocked in, ready to take to nets or for your next game. This isn’t just a beginner bat, it is an affordable and versatile bat that has a huge amount of quality.
The simple design means it won’t restrict you, however you want to play cricket, and the low middle has been made specifically for the English cricket pitch conditions. Nobody who is just starting to play cricket is thrilled by the idea of spending £500 on a bat, so the idea that you can get something quality for 20% of this is helpful for all village crickets. It helps us to complete our mission of making cricket more accessible.
TON Pure Drive Cricket Bat
RRP: £190 – Buy on Cricket Direct
The TON brand makes some pretty impressive cricket bats, and this model has been made in the same shape as some of the other models on their list. It has a large playing area and a great, balanced bat. If you middle it, it stays hit.
This uses English Willow, but it is grade 4, so it is not as high quality as some of the other bats on the market. This is how the price is kept to a reasonable level.
The willow is air dried and combined with the shape of this bat give a really nice pickup. It has a quality toe guard and Camo ZiggZagg grip, and it definitely feels like a quality bat in your hand. While the wood has imperfections, the bat will serve you well on village cricket pitches around the country.
It doesn’t come knocked in, but some of the companies you can buy it from will offer this as an extra service.
Hunts County Neo 450 Cricket Bat
RRP £175 – Buy from Cricket Direct
If you like the idea of being a bigger hitter, then this bat could be a relatively affordable option for you.
It comes with a choice of weights, from 2lb 9oz all the way up to nearly 3lb. This is great for those who want to be able to choose the ideal bat for them, but it can also be tempting to buy a big heavy bat in the hope that it helps you score six after six. This doesn’t always translate. If you haven’t built up the power and strength to handle a heavy bat then you may not be able to get the speed to hit big shots with a heavy bat. Stick to a lighter bat if you aren’t sure.
Even the lighter options have got a large profile, and thick edges so even if you don’t middle it you might end up scoring plenty of runs.
The bowed blade can help you to generate that extra power, too. If you’re a bigger cricketer this is also available in an LH design.
With an Aqua grip, toe protection, and a reinforced blade, this is also a durable bat. Knock it in correctly and take good care of the bat, and you’ll end up with a companion to take out to the middle with you for the coming seasons. The willow is grade three, which is certainly acceptable for the average village cricketer though you aren’t likely to see this specific bat in any upcoming international cricket.
If you’re worried that you might not have the power to deal with this bat then you may want to opt for one of the other bats. To get the best results with the Hunts County Neo 450 Cricket Bat we do recommend a bulkier build and plenty of strength.
This may not be the biggest cricket brand in the world, but sometimes that can be a good way to get a quality bat made with extra care and attention.
Summary – Finding the Best Cricket Bat for Beginners
It’s not easy. If you don’t understand the terms in cricket and what the different weights and grades mean, it can be hard to feel confident that you are actually making the right decision when it comes to finding a bat.
Our list provides you with some excellent options for your first ever cricket season, and allows you to go to practice at the nets, safe in the knowledge you have a high quality bat that will do the job.
Our Village Cricket Bat has been designed to help you to get a quality bat without spending too much of your hard-earned cash, and to keep things simple. You also get a 12-month warranty with the bat so you can rest assured of the quality.