If you are looking for an affordable cricket bat for use playing on a Saturday for your local village team, you might well be looking at options made out of Kashmir willow. This material is more affordable due to the fact that it is more abundant than English willow, which is the traditional material for making cricket bats.
In this guide, we’re exploring the best Kashmir willow cricket bats, and how you can choose a suitable bat for your style of cricket (and budget). Material is just one of the considerations. Read on to explore the best way to make your choice, as well as exploring a recommended bat for your cricket needs.
What is Kashmir Willow?
Kashmir willow is one variety of the Salix Alba willow tree, which was first discovered around 300 years ago here in the UK. The willow trees have been grown for centuries, and when they were first used for cricket bats they were found to be the perfect density. Weeping willow trees are too hard and heavy for bats.
In the 19th century, British people in India worked out that they could grow the tree in the climate. Saplings were planted and grew successfully! That’s where we get Kashmir willow.
The origin of the trees is identical. While there is sometimes snobbery regarding the type of tree, the only difference between the two is the climate in which they are grown. Well, perhaps it isn’t the only difference, the price of the two materials is also vastly different.
What Makes a Bat Suitable for Hard Ball Cricket?
When you are looking for a bat, either for kids or adults, you need to make sure that it is great for use in hard ball cricket. If you are practising with a softer ball such as a practise ball, you might find that a bat performs perfectly, but once you use a hard ball it can break. Some bats snap completely from the handle.
Bats must be a high grade of willow in order to be able to cope with the hard cricket ball hitting them time and time again. They also need to be knocked in. More on this below.
Kashmir Willow vs English Willow
There are a few differences between the two types of wood. This should definitely be considered before you make a choice.
Kashmir willow is marginally denser. However, if you are looking to buy a willow bat that is 2 lb 9oz or 2 lb 10 oz, it makes very little difference how dense the wood is, and when you are actually playing you are unlikely to notice this difference. It also doesn’t put any more strain on your body. 2lb 9oz is the same weight, no matter what the density is!
English willow is said to have a slightly better ‘ping’ to it. This is something reserved for the pros, really. At the village cricket level, very few of us amateur cricketers can feel the benefits of the additional ‘ping’ of the cricket bat made out of English willow.
Kashmir willow can actually last a lot longer. This means that instead of having to replace your bat every couple of seasons, you might get much more use out of a Kashmir willow bat such as the Village Cricket Co bat.
There is often a big difference in the colour of the bat. Kashmir willow varies more in colour, and while English willow tends to be much paler, the Kashmir models can be a little darker. The willow is much more variable when sourced from Kashmir, so it’s inevitable that the bats can come with different looks to them.
Both types of willow come in different grades. Higher grades of both are harder to distinguish. The grade one Kashmir bats have even been used in test cricket. Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Viv Richards have both used this type of wood.
How to Choose a Kashmir Willow Cricket Bat
What are the key criteria when you are looking to choose a Kashmir willow cricket bat? There are plenty of myths about Kashmir bats when compared to English willow bats. Below, we delve into all of the things you should consider when choosing a Kashmir willow cricket bat.
For the vast majority of people, price is a consideration when you are looking to buy a cricket bat. We’d all love to buy a £500 bat, but this isn’t an option for a lot of us. If you’re buying for a child, then you certainly won’t want to spend a fortune on a bat that they are likely to grow out of in a matter of years, or even months.
While an English willow bat could cost £400-500, you may be able to find a Kashmir willow bat for £200 or less.
Kashmir willow is not only attractive due to the price. This type of willow was used by Sachin Tendulkar at times in his career. You can enjoy the quality that it has to offer without having to part with a fortune.
Cricket bats come in two different adult sizes as well as a number of junior sizes. Here at the Village Cricket Co, we stock a variety of different sizes so you can match your bat to the size you need.
While a lot of the decision on size can be made via age, you may get the most suitable bat size based on your height, or the height of your child. Adults up to 6ft 3in can use SH bats (this stands for “short handle”) and over 6ft 3in it may make sense to opt for a LH bat (“long handle”) which may be more suitable for your build.
Children’s cricket bats come in sizes 1-6, and Harrow bats are suitable for adolescents and small adults. You can buy any of these on the Village Cricket Co website. Whether you’re buying for a four-year-old or a 40-year-old, it’s all about matching up the right size.
Adult cricket bats normally weigh between 2lb 7oz and 2lb 10oz. If you’re used to holding someone else’s bat at practice, this is the sort of weight and feel you will be used to. Naturally, if you are buying a smaller bat, for children, the weight will be significantly lower.
Knocking in your bat involves hitting it with a mallet to compress the fibres. Some people also use a cricket ball inside a sock. This gradually prepares the bat for being hit repeatedly with a hard cricket ball.
Knocking in can be annoying for a couple of reasons. It can be time-consuming, but also, if you don’t know what you are doing, you might not do a great job. This means it is more likely that your bat will break when you use it in your next match or even while you’re in the nets. Nobody wants that. The Village Cricket Bat is shipped to you already knocked in. The minute it arrives at your door you can head out and start to play with your friends.
Recommended Bat – Village Cricket Bat
We know what people who are looking for Kashmir bats tend to be looking for, and we’ve sourced our products accordingly.
As well as being available in all of the mainstream bat sizes, the Village Cricket Bat is made with both quality and value in mind.
Crucially, for village cricketers, the bat has a low middle and a low sweet spot. This suits English pitches and conditions and means that if you get a great connection, the ball absolutely flies. This bat could be your ideal accomplice in getting boundary after boundary. The bat also comes with a carefully constructed curvature to accommodate the modern, 360-degree player, and give you the utmost in flexibility.
It comes knocked in, so you don’t have to worry about doing this yourself when it arrives. We know you want to get straight to work on your game. The bat is durable, and will only need knocking in again after a prolonged period where you don’t use it at all.
We’re so confident in the bat that we are happy to give a 180-day guarantee. This bat is built to last, and we are sure you’re going to get many seasons of use out of it.
The bat is a great all-rounder. It can be used by the attacking or defensive batsman, and it is ideal for having in the kitbag at a village cricket club, or as a ‘club bat’ for practice sessions.
How do we keep it so cheap? By avoiding chasing endorsements and sponsoring players, and having one simple design for each size, we can ensure that we pass on savings to our customers. The bat is made out of Salix Alba willow from Kashmir, which means that the wood itself is slightly more affordable, but it can still let you smash the ball to all parts.