How Do You Select a Cricket Bat?

We have had plenty of young cricketers attend the centre with the wrong cricket bat. When we say the wrong bat it could be the incorrect size, weight or even the wrong type of willow. All these variables can have a massive impact on a player’s performance.

Cut willow wood drying as part of the manufacturing process of cricket bats at the Gray-Nicholls factory, Roberstbridge, East Sussex circa 1985.Th business dates back to  H.J. Gray and Sons which was founded in Cambridge by world rackets champion H.J. Gray in 1855  (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)

Types of Willows

Let’s start with the type of willow (wood). There are two types of willow commonly used for manufacturing cricket bats 
English (White) Willow and Kashmir Willow.
Willow is the only type of wood that can provide the strength and compression needed for a cricket bat. There are big differences in the performance of the two types of willow. Firstly, English Willow trees are grown in England whereas Kashmir Willow is grown in the Kashmir area of north west India. English willow is specifically grown for manufacturing cricket bats and they are visibly different to Kashmir willow bats. English willow is white while Kashmir willow is brownish in colour. Kashmir willow bats are heavier than English willow bats and much cheaper to buy. They don’t ‘ping’ like English willow bats and junior cricketers certainly don’t get the value for their shots with Kashmir Willow bats..

Kashmir Willow – Kashmir willow is harder and dryer by nature than English willow, so doesn’t perform as well or last as long. This type of bat is ideal as a starter bat for use against a softer ball (Incrediballs, Wonderballs etc.) For these reasons they are cheap to buy and a lot of Rookie level or Under 12 C and D grade players use them. Players don’t get the optimum outcome when they hit a leather cricket ball with these bats.

Willow Grading & Cost

Some cricket bats cost more than others because willow comesin different grades. As a rule of thumb, the softer (narrow grain)willow has excellent performance qualities but has a shorter lifespan, whereas the harder (broader grain) willow tends to last longer but takes time before you get optimum performance from it. All bats are made from a natural material so the grain structure can vary. Every piece of willow is graded as follows:

Bat size depends on the height and age of the player. The table below is a useful guide.

Bat SizeApprox AgeHeight of BatterBat Length in cmsBat Width in cms
03-4to 123 cm62.8 to 64.79.5
14-5123-130 cm67.99.5
26-7130-137 cm70.19.5
38137-145 cm739.6
49-11145-150 cm75.99.6
510-12150-157 cm78.810.2
611-13157-163 cm81.110.2
Harrow12-14163-175 cm82.810.4
Full SH15+175-188 cm85.210.8
Full LH15+over 188 cm8710.8

The weight of the cricket bat is very important and can have huge impact on the performance of a player. A heavy bat for a young player will make it hard to lift and swing which will limit their ability to play horizontal blade shots like the cut and pull. Senior players make the same mistake and you should never buy a bat without the player picking it up. Bats might tip the scales at thesame weight but depending on the shape of the blade they can pick up very differently. As a guide, senior bats can weigh anywhere between 2lb 6ozs to 3lb 2ozs.


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