The cricket bat is more than a lump of willow with a rubber handle. It is your only weapon in the quest for the runs you need to succeed.
No wonder so many batsmen love their blade so much they can’t even be parted with it at bedtime. It‘s like losing a beloved family pet when the time comes to replace it. Sometimes it has to be done. Sometimes tape and sandpaper and oil are no longer enough.
Take a deep breath and buy a new bat.
Selecting a cricket bat is tricky. Walk into any shop and look at the range of bats. They don’t seem too different. It’s easy to make a mistake. In my days I’ve been tricked into buying the wrong bats a few times. There are plenty of things to look out for.
A bat either too big or small will not to your batting any favours. When you are buying a bat, stand into stance and play an imaginary straight drive. This will give you an idea if the bat is according to your size or not. If it is small you’ll notice when you take your stance. If it is big it will hinder the straight drive. You’ll know without much effort if the bat is the right size or not.
As a rule of thumb, if you are 5’9” or over (174cm) you can use a short handle/full size bat.
Shape of the handle
There are two shapes of bat’s handles. Some are round, others are oval. Both are fine as long as they are not misshaped. Before buying a bat, carefully examine the shape at the end of its handle. A misshaped handle will cause the bat to rotate in your hands after you play a shot.
The cricket bat wood is categorised in grades (willow quality). Grade 1 plus is the highest quality of wood with all the necessarily oiling and polishing. It is normally used by professionals as it is expensive. In contrast Grade 4 is a rather roughly made willow without much lubricant treatment. The important thing to remember here is your budget. If you cannot buy G1 plus, do not sweat over it. Buy the quality you can afford. With the passage of time when the standard of your cricket goes up, you can go for higher quality.
This is more of a personal liking thing than a technical one. All the quality brands have little difference in their products. If you buy a brand that you like, you will be extra proud of your stick. That is when brand name comes in.
The weight of the bat is the most important for you. Young players often buy too heavy bats. Your priority should be to buy the most light weight bat possible. Heavy bat won’t allow you to swing freely and you’ll shoulders will be stiff after a long stay at the crease.
By keeping these things in mind, you can buy a bat that can serve you for a long time to come. When you have a bat make sure you take good care of it. His cricket equipment is like a best friend to a cricketer. Just as teachers tell you to respect books to be knowledgeable, coaches tell you to respect your equipment to be a good cricketer.