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What are the different types of cricket bat?
There are two main types of cricket bat: English willow bats and Kashmir willow bats. Both serve their purpose, but if you’re looking for the best performance, you’ll want to go for English willow.

Lighter, easier to manoeuvre, and offering a “ping” that Kashmir willow just can’t match, English willow bats are favoured by almost all professional players. They are though significantly more expensive, so if you’re just starting out in cricket or simply want something for casual play, a Kashmir willow bat could be a budget-friendly option.

What do cricket bat grades mean?
Bat grades refer to the quality of the willow used to make the bat. Grade 1 is the best, Grade 2 is the second best, and so on. Some brands use their own naming conventions, but we always make sure our product pages tell you what grade a bat is in simple terms. What makes one grade better than another? There are three main things to look out for: the straightness of the grains on the face of the bat, the colour of the wood, and any knots or imperfections. Better willow has straighter grains, a more consistent colour, and fewer imperfections.

Do higher bat grades perform better?
Not necessarily. As cosmetic appearance is a major factor in assigning a grade to a bat, which has no effect on performance, it’s quite common for lower-grade bats to outperform higher-grade bats. They might not look as nice, but they’ll launch a six out of the ground just the same. For this reason, many cricketers go for Grade 3, which gets you a good mix of looks, performance, durability, and value.

Is it better to have more grains on a cricket bat?
That depends on what you want from your bat. The grains show the age of the willow – each grain signifies one year of growth. More grains on the face of a bat thus implies older, denser willow. As a general rule, older willow performs better from first use but begins to break up more quickly, while younger willow takes a bit longer to reach peak performance but is more durable overall. Some players prefer the look of a bat with lots of grains and the traditional premium status that comes with it.

Our advice is not to be too preoccupied with the number of grains. These days, due to the high demand for cricket bats, the vast majority of English willow used for bats is younger, faster-grown willow, and the quality is such that they perform every bit as well as the many-grained bats of yesteryear. Batmakers know what they’re doing: if they’ve made the effort to turn the willow into a bat, they’re expecting it to be a good bat, however many grains it has.

What’s the best cricket bat brand?
There are lots of good ones, and you can rest assured that you’ll find the best cricket bats in the world on our site. You’ll see pro players using many different brands, which is testament to the quality and breadth of choice available. It’s up to you to pick your favourite, really.

Do you prefer the traditional English artisan approach still used by the likes of Gray-Nicolls and Newbery, with their history and classic branding? Or maybe you want the machined precision of a Gunn & Moore? Then there’s Kookaburra, creator of some of the most iconic bats of the modern era. DSC, the Indian giants. And, of course, global multi-sport brands such as adidas and New Balance.

Whichever brand of bat you choose, if we stock them, you know they’re quality cricket bats. But how do you choose? Stickers, for one – get a bat that you think looks good, and you’ll feel good using it. The other, more important, consideration is profile. Pick a brand that offers a shape that suits your style of play, and you’re onto a winner.

Which cricket bat shape is best for me?
Our general recommendation is to think about the shots you like to play, where on the bat you find yourself connecting with the ball most often, and choose a bat with mass concentrated towards that area.

If you’re a power player who likes to go for big swings and use the lower end of the bat, look for a meaty swell that extends towards the toe. Or, if you’re a hook and pull merchant, you might prefer a lighter, more manoeuvrable bat with a higher sweetspot.

Then there’s the handle: round or oval? Round makes it easier to adjust your grip, so tends to suit players who like to roll their wrists for cross-bat strokes. Oval prevents unwanted twisting of the bat in your hands, offering greater stability and control.

Of course, every bat is capable of playing any type of shot. You just need to find one that you feel comfortable using and that helps you play your best cricket.

 

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