Buying a Cricket Bat - A Useful Guide.
In my role as a Cricket Coach, i have recently been inundated for information, from Parents, about Cricket Bats. They are looking to buy their child a new bat for Christmas and do not know where to start. They want to buy the best bat suitable for their child but, always throw in the banana - not too expensive though.
There are 9 sizes, 2 types of willow and over 30 Manufacturers offering a range of at least 6 ranges of bats each. That is a total of over 3000 bats to choose from. No wonder they want help.
We can quickly reduce this amount by correctly gauging the size required, that would bring the choice down to 360 to pick from. How do we decide what is the correct size? We have to refer to the ECB guidelines on bat sizing:-
Size 1 ..............Age 4 to 5.......Height - 4' to 4' 3".........Bat height - 27"
Size 2...............Age 6 to 7.......Height - 4' 3" to 4' 6".....Bat height - 28"
Size 3...............Age 8..............Height - 4' 6" to 4' 9".....Bat height - 29"
Size 4...............Age 9 to 10.....Height - 4' 9" to 4' 11"...Bat height - 30"
Size 5...............Age 10 to 12...Height - 4'11" to 5' 2"....Bat height - 31"
Size 6...............Age 12 to 14...Height - 5' 2" to 5' 4".....Bat height - 32"
Harrow.............Age 13 to 15....Height - 5' 4" to 5' 8".....Bat height - 33"
Short Handle....Age 15+...........Height - 5' 8" to 6' 4".....Bat height - 33.5"
Long Handle....Age 15+...........Height - 6' 4" +...............Bat height - 34.5"
It looks complicated but isn't. Obviously you need to measure the height of your child first then look along the chart to see which size is suitable. If your child is growing at an alarming rate, you may be better served to wait until the rate of growth, has slowed.
Next you address the parents comment of 'wanting a decent bat'. There are two types of Willow bat, that are made from English Willow and Kashmir Willow. English Willow is slower growing and generally of a higher quality. To complicate things a little, there are different grades available too. This shouldn't be a problem at junior level though.
I recommend to all of our under 11's, to only buy, a Kashmir Willow bat. They are growing at such rate, that you cannot really justify spending £70 on a junior bat for a club player. A bat around £30 will be of good enough standard and will last at least a year, depending on the growth of the child. Players at under 11 are either playing Kwik Cricket using a soft ball or Hard Ball using a Cricket ball. They will not have the power or strength to break a Kashmir bat at this age.
The brand of bat, greatly depends on your location and what type of retailer you want to buy from. If you shop at at Cricket specialist you will have a wider choice of brands than if you go to a large nationwide sports superstore. The specialist, will also be able to give you advice and try to stop you from falling into the common pitfalls of buying a bat. There are a few online retailers, that are great with choice and advice too.
Branded bats are available around a similar price. When you are looking at buying an adult bat, the price goes up dramatically and sometimes you then have to look at how much, the manufacturer has spent on making the bat or on sponsoring players to use the bat.
We are keen on recommending either the Kookaburra as a major branded kids bat or the fantastically quirky Willostix bats. Either way, when you have purchased a Cricket Bat ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions prior to use. It may need knocking in, with an old cricket ball in a sock and/or oiling with linseed oil.
Good luck with you purchase, i hope you found this information helpful.