With the current Cricket T20 World Cup on the go, I thought this
piece from what looks like Wikipeadia looked rather interesting…
A cricket bat is a specialised piece of equipment used by batsmen
in the sport of cricket to hit the ball . It is usually made of
willow wood. Its use is first mentioned in 1624.
A cricket bat, front and back by CA Sports .
The blade of a cricket bat is a wooden block that is generally flat
on the hitting face and with a ridge on the reverse (back) which
concentrates wood in the middle where the ball is generally hit.
The blade is connected to a long cylindrical cane handle, similar
to that of a tennis racquet, by means of a splice. The edges of
the blade closest to the handle are known as the shoulders of the
bat, and the bottom of the blade is known as the toe of the bat.
The bat is traditionally made from willow wood, specifically from
a variety of White Willow called Cricket Bat Willow, (Salix alba
var. caerulea), treated with raw (unboiled) linseed oil . The oil
has a protective function. This wood is used as it is very tough
and shock-resistant, not being significantly dented nor splintering
on the impact of a cricket ball at high speed , while also being
light in weight. It incorporates a wooden spring design where the
handle meets the blade. The current design of a cane handle spliced
into a willow blade was the invention in the 1880s of Charles
Richardson, a pupil of Brunel and the chief engineer of the Severn
Law 6 of the Laws of Cricket, as the rules of the game are known,
limit the size of the bat to not more than 38 in (965 mm)
long and the blade may not be more than 4.25 in (108 mm) wide. Bats
typically weigh from 2 lb 8 oz to 3 lb (1.1 to 1.4 kg) though there
is no standard. The handle is usually covered with a rubber or
cloth sleeve to enhance grip and the face of the bat may have a
protective film. Appendix E of the Laws of Cricket set out more
precise specifications. Modern bats are usually machine made,
however a few specialists (6 in England and 2 in Australia) still
make hand-made bats, mostly for professional players. The art of
hand-making cricket bats is known as podshaving.
Bats were not always this shape. Before the 18th century bats
tended to be shaped similarly to a modern hockey sticks . This may
well have been a legacy of the game’s reputed origins. Although the
first forms of cricket are lost in the mists of time, it may be
that the game was first played using shepherds’ crooks .
Until the rules of cricket were formalised in the 19th century, the
game usually had lower stumps, the ball was bowled underarm (which
is now illegal), and batsmen did not wear protective pads. As the
game changed, so it was found that a differently shaped bat was
better. The bat generally recognised as the oldest bat still in
existence is dated 1729 and is on display in the Sandham Room at
the Oval in London. Its shape, which is very different from
When first purchased most bats are not ready for immediate use and
require oiling and knocking-in in order to maximise the life of the
bat. This involves applying thin coats of raw linseed oil and then
striking the surface with an old cricket ball or a special hammer
mallet . This compacts the soft fibres within the bat and reduces
the risk of the bat snapping.
Australian cricketer Dennis Lillee briefly used an aluminium metal
bat in 1979. After some discussion with the umpires, and after
complaints by the English team that it was damaging the ball, he
was urged by the Australian captain Greg Chappell to revert to a
wooden bat. The rules of cricket were shortly thereafter amended,
stating that the blade of a bat must be made solely of wood.
tenzin and Puma have created bats with lightweight carbon handles
so that more weight can be used for the blade. In 2008,
Gray-Nicolls trialed a double-sided bat.
In 2005, Kookaburra released a new type of bat that had a Carbon
fiber-reinforced polymer support down the spine of the bat. It was
put on the bat to provide more support to the spine and blade of
the bat, thus prolonging the life of the bat. The first player to
use this new bat in international cricket was Australian Ricky
Ponting . However this new innovation in cricketing technology was
controversially banned by the ICC [ as they were advised by the MCC
that it unfairly gave more power in the shot and was unfair in
competition as not all players had access to this new technology.
But this was not taken lightly by Australian media as Ponting had
scored plenty of runs since he started to use his new bat and
English reporters blamed this on his new, ‘unfair’ piece of
technology in his bat.
At IPL 2010 a new bat manufacturing company called Mongoose
announced a new design of cricket bat known as Mini Mongoose . The
bat has a shorter thicker blade and a longer handle with the splice
set in the handle to provide more hitting area in the bat face, to
play huge shots. This is as the unique low centre of gravity gives
the bat much greater bat speed and as it has a shorter blade the
blade can be thicker for the same weight meaning there is more bat
behind the ball allowing the ball to be hit further. This bat is in
use by Andrew Symonds , Matthew Hayden, Stuart Law and Dwayne
Smith. However it does have several drawbacks as it is shorter it
is less useful for defensive batting and doesn’t offer the same
protection to a short ball. This means it helps the attacking game
but at the expense of the defensive game. This restricts its
usefulness to Twenty20 where attack is the aim rather than Test or
championship cricket where longer innings require a more subtle
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
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