Choosing the right cricket bat for you

Choosing the right cricket bat for you


Cricket bat willow is mainly sourced from England and Kashmir. To make the finest quality cricket bats requires the careful selection of the world's best raw materials. The timber we use is Alba Caerulea (Cricket Bat Willow), grown in England. The willow is renewably harvested across the whole of England and sold through the wood yards of Essex and Suffolk. Only the highest grades of willow are hand selected for bats. In England, the industry is based in Essex and Suffolk, where 90% of worldwide cricket willow is grown and is globally considered to be the finest available. Kashmiri willow bats are aimed at the lower end of the market and are usually much heavier and less responsive, due to the higher moisture content from the growing conditions. We do use a willow described as Australian willow grown in Victoria. This is an English `stock` that has been grown in the Victoria in Australia, has English characteristics in looks and grain but Australian characteristics in weight (naturally higher moisture content (see weight below). We do manufacture a limited range of Australian bats subject to availability of such willow which is usually hard to get due to the low areas covered.


Willow Grade

Willows grow to a maximum height of 21-27m(70-90ft), diameter 0.9-1.2m(3-4ft). The tree will be encouraged to branch out at about 3m (10') height and are generally grown in plantations at about 12 yard centres, 10 yard centres if they are on river banks. Trees grown for manufacture of cricket bats are felled when they reach a circumference of about 56". As a natural product, even the finest willow will have some `blemishes` or `pin knots` and hence even a top grade bat will not be 100% clean; some imperfections will exist but not in key areas. While some imperfections will effect playing ability, others will not; for example, in older times, the presence of a butterfly stain was accepted as giving additional strength to the blade; in modern times, cosmetic looks sometimes overrule the truth. The density of the wood and consistency of the grain through the playing area of the bat is of vital importance to the end balance and performance.


There are four grades on English willow available on the market ( Grade 1 to Grade 4).

Grade 1 -This is the best blade that money can buy. There are no specific rules as to what makes a grade 1 blade, but it is generally accepted that the face should have at least four visible straight grains. There might be minimal heartwood (red coloured timber which comes from the centre of the tree). Although there might be the odd small knot on the edge or back, the playing area should be clean. It must be noted that these slight imperfections in the willow will not necessarily hinder performance. On average most Grade 1 bats have between 6-12 nice straight grains. There is a Special Super-Best (Grade 1+), but this is the ultimate finest willow and is reserved for the Signature and Limited Edition bats.

Grade 2 -This is also another good quality blade. Occasionally there can be slightly more redwood, but again it won’t affect playing performance. There should be at least 4 straight grains on the face of the bat with maybe some blemishes, pin knots or “speck” available.

Grade 3 -A highly popular value for money graded willow. There should be a minimum of 4 straight grains which may not always be perfectly straight. Again, this is purely cosmetic & has no bearing on the performance of the bat. Small knots or a little “butterfly” stain may be present with perhaps more prominent speck. With the right press and handcrafting, our batmaker will ensure that your Grade 3 bat will be optimised to give you maximum performance.

Grade 4 -The Grade 4 blade will normally have over half of the bat coloured with redwood or have a butterfly stain. It can be bleached to make it look more aesthetically pleasing, but it will still play as well as the other grades. The butterfly stain normally symbolises that the willow is very strong and therefore should last slightly longer. There could also possibly be more “speck”



This is an area often overlooked by the bat buyer. For a customer `in the know`, the number of grains on a bat can provide a lot of information. So lets make sure you are…

Two general considerations apply.

Firstly, performance. A narrow grain bat (more grains across the blade) will give better performance from an early stage. Why? The narrow grain indicates slow growth and results in a more responsive end product. However, narrow grain bats (12+ grains) will certainly not last as long and may, in the hand of a professional, be discarded after a few hundred runs. Our Wider grain bats will surely play very well over a period of time but perhaps not initially.

Secondly, durability, a wider grained bat (less grains across the blade, usually considered as 5 or less) will last longer. Why? The wider grain indicates quicker growth, allowing an early felling and therefore giving a younger and hence stronger wood. In the modern world, even the willow grower is subject to commercial decisions and it is very likely that quicker growth will be in favour. We list the average number of grains in each bat range for our customers to use when making a choice – in summary, more (narrow) grains for better response but potentially shorter life, less (wider) grains for longer life. The happy medium? You certainly need to consider the standard of cricket you participate in but in general, around 6 to 8.



Heavier bats have a slower bat speed than lighter bats. The effort required to move the bat increases as the weight of the bat increases. A lighter bat will allow faster bat speed and increase the chance of middling the ball. A heavier bat will not be quite as easy to middle the ball with, but when you connect the ball will stay hit. All our bats are listed to within 1oz of their `scale weight`. While this gives a good indication to our customers, `scale weight` only does not indicate how heavy a bat will feel. Different styles of bats are designed for different approaches to batting, where pick-up and design, combined with weight, contribute to the performance of the finished product. Wherever possible, we list the type of batsman that each bat has been designed for. Selecting the weight of the bat is crucial to maximising your performance. Weight impacts on the way you bat. A heavy bat with a lot of wood in the middle will hit the ball a lot further than a lighter bat. A lighter bat will have a faster bat speed meaning you are more likely to hit the ball in the middle. A bat that has an even weight distribution will have a faster bat speed than a bat that has its weight in near the toe. This means that a heavier bat with a good distribution of weight will have a faster bat speed than a light bat with a lot of weight in the toe.

In general, there are two major factors that contribute to the `scale weight` of a bat. Firstly, the type of willow used. Kashmiri willow has a naturally higher moisture content and this is the reason this type has a higher minimum weight than English willow. Secondly, the drying process. A cleft that has been allowed to dry over a long period of time will allow the craftsman to deliver a finished product with an even distribution of weight throughout the blade, contributing to a `nice pick-up`.

While the bats weight is determined by personal preference, the following are general recommendations based on the position in the batting order. Please use these as a guide only, and for advice based on your build & style of play please email us.


Opening bat

A lighter bat is recommended usually in the region of 2lbs7ozs – 2lbs9ozs. This is due to the faster bat speed required when facing the new ball. A heavier bat means that there will be a slightly slower reaction time, which can be the difference between playing the ball too early or too late (another point would be “the difference between a thick or thin edge”)


No.3 & 4

A slightly heavier weight would often be required due to getting into a more aggressive style whilst still retaining the balance needed for facing faster bowlers. 2lbs8ozs-2lbs10ozs.


No’s.5, 6 & 7

One would generally require a large amount of size to the bat so that when one hits out the ball is sure to travel beyond the boundary. A good weight range for a middle order player would be 2lbs10ozs – 2lbs12ozs.


No’s. 8 & 9

This depends very much on your build and what feels comfortable to you, players tend to use bats of around 2lbs12ozs, sometimes with a longer blade(depending on height) you are very often required to stay at the crease so it is not necessarily correct to have a big heavy bat.


No’s. 10 & 11

These are very often crucial batting positions in the game as you may find yourself in a position where you are needed to score the winning runs, if you find that you are a pretty good timer of the ball and like the heavy bat (3lbs +) when in the throws of the final over then a good balance is crucial due to the way it improves your timing. If you feel that the bat has to be light and you cannot use a heavier bat well, we would recommend one in the region of 2lbs10ozs but making sure that the bat length is correct. Lower order batsmen should be particular about the bat they use. Being in the lower order means you need every advantage you can get. Lower order batsmen do not have the skill that those batting up the order have, and having the correct bat can dramatically improve your batting performance.

The length of the bat impacts on bat speed in several areas. The longer the bat, the further away from the hands the weight / sweet spot. The further away from the hands the weight is, the heavier the bat feels, and for practical purposes is. A long bat or a bat with a low sweet spot will have a slower bat speed than a shorter bat or a bat with a higher sweet spot. A longer bat will also travel further from the top of the pickup to the point of impact. This reduces the bat speed, meaning it takes slightly longer to reach the point of impact. Some times players may find that they like a particular weight but prefer a longer blade for instance. A longer blade will help if you sometimes get back pain or if you are looking to make yourself stand up straighter. As a rule if you normally use a 2lbs8oz bat in a standard short handle size the weight for a long blade will be 2lbs9ozs, this is due to the extra length right at the toe of the bat. It will also feel more “toe heavy” than what you are used to because the extra length moves the general weight distribution further away from your hands. The same principles apply to a long handled bat due to pushing the weight further away from your hands. With all of these recommendations players will have different preferences please contact us to talk about these so that we can be sure that the bat is correctly made, the more information we have about you, the easier it is to make the correct bat and ensure satisfaction.



Can a heavy bat have a light pick-up and visa versa? For sure! The bat maker and the moisture content of the raw product contribute to the pick-up. The manufacturers design and bat makers` skill in distributing weight, when working with a quality raw material, can certainly deliver a heavy bat with a light pick-up. For the bat buyer, it`s a very personal decision and one that has no rules; a slightly built batsman may choose a light bat with light pick due to his or her physical characteristics but could also decide to use a meatier and heavier tool to make up for their lack of `beef`. Balance or Pick up describes the bats centre of gravity. If the bats centre of gravity is closer to the handle the pickup is quite poor. If the centre of gravity is approximately 8 inches from the shoulder then the pick up should be good. We do not advocate measuring for the centre of gravity – you should test the pick up using the method described below. To test the pickup of your bat, hold it in your top hand and lift it using your normal pickup. If the bat feels heavy then the pick up is not great. If it is easy to pick up and the bat does not feel heavy then you have a bat with good balance and pickup. A bat with a good pick up will allow for a better bat speed than a bat with a poor pickup. Like the selection of any sporting equipment, there is a compromise between fast bat speed and having a bat that has enough middle to get the ball to the boundary. Fast bat speed allows all manner of shots to be played, and adjustments to shots while the shot is being made. Heavier bats slow the bat speed down, but have more mass behind the ‘middle’ meaning the ball will travel further when hit properly. Simply put, the batsman has to decide whether he or she wants a bat with lots of weight that will hit the ball a long way when it connects, or a bat that is lighter and allows you to hit the ball in the middle more frequently. Most players end up taking a middle path, selecting a bat with an average weight (2’10”- 2’12).



Oval handles generally are stronger. A good handle helps to diffuse the shock created from the ball meeting the blade. The oval shape in the lower handle also gives the bat a better directional feel. It is harder to grip the bat too hard with the bottom hand. One can only hold with thumb and forefinger, which encourages the top hand to control the shot. The oval shape improves the pickup due to having a larger mass nearer to your body. Most batsmen that feel our oval handle will never revert back to a round one. We recommend the oval handle for anyone who wants to bat technically correctly. The round handle is best suited to those who like to use their bottom hand to hit the ball hard and lift it. For many years, bats were available in long and short handle models. While long handle bats are still made, the short handled bat has become very much the norm, with diminishing customer demand for long handle.

The construction of the handle itself has developed in recent years with the use of stronger Manau cane from Indonesia. It is important that the splice and handle are not oiled, as this will have a detrimental effect on the glue used to fix the blade to the handle.



The size of a batsman’s hands can alter the specification of the handle. This is changed by either applying extra rubber grips or in the case of needing a thinner handle, specifying you have small hands when you place your order. Grips are available in all sorts of colours and textures. In terms of playability, the only real factor is the width that the grip gives to the handle - how it feels in your hand! Many players prefer to have two grips, considering that it aids a lighter pick-up. Increasing the number of grips raises the centre of gravity and improves bat speed, as well as the feel of the bat. The number grips you have on your bat will be determined by personal preference. As a rough guide all of the bat weights we have specified in recommendations are with one rubber grip. Each additional grip will increase the bat’s weight by one and a half ounces. Too many grips, however, can make the bat feel very heavy and seem to be without life. Most batsmen would use one rubber grip.