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The History of Cricket Bats


the history and evolution of cricket batsThe game of cricket has evolved a lot over the years. Rules have been changed, play timings and the equipment too have become part of an inevitable evolutionary process. Most of these changes have favoured the batsmen. They have benefitted from the shorter boundaries, flatter tracks and thicker bats. Their main weapon has been aided by science and technology. Batsmen now don’t have to bother too much about getting the ball in the middle of the bat as even edges clear the ropes.

The History of Cricket Bats:

The humble cricket bat may to the uninitiated, seem no more than a simple piece of wood that is flailed at a ball; a plank of wood essentially that a batsman uses to club a ball away in the hope of picking up a few runs. However, the development of this piece of sporting equipment has been a real evolution that has occurred over centuries, leading to the building of highly sophisticated bats today, which continue to evolve still.

The sport of cricket was born in England in the 17th century, but bats in those days had little resemblance to those in use today. The earliest cricket bats, used from 1624, were similar to hockey sticks in appearance, with a long thin shaft and a thick base which was used for striking the ball.


Soon bats evolved to become thicker and to look more like modern cricket bats, although until 1771 there were no restrictions on the width of a bat. This led one player with the fantastic name Shock White, to use a bat as wide as a set of stumps, which was considered unfair and, well, just not cricket. Following this a bat was limited to a width of 4.25 inches. A later length restriction of 38 inches was imposed in 1835, which is still the same today. As bowling rules changed over time, bats became lighter along with an increase in the swell of the bat and refined shaping of the blade.

Two Piece Bats:

Until 1830 cricket bats were made from just one piece of wood, but this often led to bats shattering and breaking. A development that made this much less likely was the addition of a separate handle, which led down to a tapered splice, which fitted into the blade of the bat. This made bats much stronger and this is still essentially how bats are made today.

Modern Cricket Bats:

Modern bat handles also have suspension-like rubber running through them to prevent vibration in the hands when striking the ball, and this precaution is constantly being refined. Modern bats are typically made of willow and have a ridged back to concentrate the strength of the wood in the middle of the bat, where the ball is usually hit. The front is flat but some bats have a bowed curve – typically bats from India and Pakistan and this is believed to give a bat more power too.

Other Cricket Bats:

In 1979 Australian cricketer Dennis Lillee briefly used a ComBat aluminium metal bat. 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 amended, stating that the blade of a bat must be made solely of wood. In 2005 Kookaburra released a new type of bat. It had a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer support down the spine of 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 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. With the advent of T20 came The Mongoose MMi3; a cricket bat specifically designed for Twenty20 cricket. The design is unusual in that the blade is 33% shorter than a conventional bat and the handle is 43% longer.

Popular brands include Gray Nicholls, GM, Kookaburra and Malik, and there are many smaller bat makers creating bats throughout the world for keen players.

Talent Cricket Equipment could provide you with the ideal cricket bat so take a look at some fine examples of modern willow bats online.

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