You might face a difficult choice and a fair amount of confusion if you’re buying a bat for the first time. What are some of the differentiating features and types of cricket bats that are on the market?
When you see terms like “SH” and “Grade 1A” what does it actually mean? These are all options for cricket bats, and while a cricket bat can be more than one “type” according to our categories (a SH bat can also be an English willow bat), it helps to get an understanding of the makeup of the bats.
Before we get started, it is important to know that people categorise cricket bats in different ways. There isn’t one set standard like sizes of football bats, and types of bat can be defined by:
Cricket bats are traditionally made out of willow. The strong fibres of the Salix Alba variety of willow are perfect for a bat. They provide enough strength but are also light enough to swing without having to be super strong.
All willow needs to be looked after and tended to by knocking in in order to get the most out of your bat. English willow is relatively scarce which means it is also pretty expensive, especially if you want a high grade of willow.
We’ve done a lot of research on the subject of English Willow and Kashmir Willow, you can see our full comparison here.
Kashmir Willow is exactly the same tree species as English Willow but it has been grown in India. India has a long tradition of playing cricket and willow has been grown there specifically for the purposes of making cricket bats.
As it is more abundant, it is also more affordable. The Village Cricket Bat is a superb example of a quality bat made out of Kashmir Willow, that has durability to last season after season as well as the characteristics needed for playing on English pitches.
Short Handle cricket bats, abbreviated to SH, are the most popular type of bats in terms of size. These bats are suitable for adult batters up to around 6’3” or even 6’4” and once you have graduated from the smaller sizes, SH is the next step. Our SH bat weighs in at 2lb 9oz which is a very manageable weight.
For those who are a bit taller, a LH or Long Handle bat might be necessary. Usually, only the very tallest 10% of cricketers use these bats, but you see a lot of them used by the pros, partially because professionals are often very tall!
Other Sizes (Junior)
Junior sizes have six numbered sizes and one extra “Harrow” size which is seen as an adolescent/in-between size.
We’ve created a graphic that can help you to understand bat sizes. It is important that you get the correct size for your height so that you are comfortable and have a full range of movement.
Junior sizes can be frustrating, especially for parents. It is possible that your child will quickly outgrow their bat and need a new one pretty much every season. The affordable nature of the Village Cricket Bat in junior sizes makes it easier for parents who are having to buy a new bat every couple of years.
Soft Ball Bats
If you buy a bat that is one of the cheapest out there, for instance, from a high-street chain of sports shops (naming no names) it is very possible that the bat will not be made out of willow.
The sort of composite wood used for these bats is really only suitable for hitting around some tennis balls with friends or in a park. This type of bat is not going to cut it when playing cricket, even village cricket, and you’ll need a willow bat.
There are some other types of bats including “technique bats” which have a very small surface area. These aren’t designed to be used when playing cricket. Instead, they are meant for training. The idea is that if you can manage to connect with a slimline bat, you’ll have no trouble with a big bat.
Plastic sets are perfect for an impromptu game of cricket with kids or with your friends. They can be used at the beach or in the garden and give you everything you need, including a bat! Be warned, these aren’t for use when you turn up to a nets session.
There are even more ways to categorise bats. Their brand, and the grade of the willow, are two more examples.
Making sure you get the right kind of cricket bat for your needs isn’t easy, but understanding the terminology and types of bat will certainly help.