Cricket Bats Evolved With The Sport

Cricket bats are an integral part of the great sport of cricket. Cricket has been around for hundreds of years and in that time span changes have occurred to the game and the equipment. It is said that the early bats were similar to hockey sticks, with a long shank and a shorter angled end. In fact one of these early bats, said to be from 1729, exists and is on display in London. Since then the bats have evolved and modern style bats are not only shaped differently, there are more distinguishing features.

Modern cricket bats are paddle shaped, with a slim handle and a wider blade. The blade is flat on the front side and the back side has an aerodynamic v-shaped ridge. The ball is hit with the flat side of the bat. The cricket bat is usually made from willow wood because it is rugged and virtually splinter-proof while remaining fairly light. The bats are treated with linseed oil and this serves two purposes. It protects the willow wood and it also provides increased friction on the surface when it meets the ball and that helps the batsmans control. Aluminum bats are not allowed in organized games because they can damage the cricket balls.

Bat size is regulated and can be up to 965 mm long and the blade up to 108 mm wide. While there is no restriction on weight, most weigh between 1.1 to 1.4 kg. Most bats today are machine-made, but there are some craftsmen who make cricket bats by hand. These are generally custom orders for professional players or for very serious amateurs who are seriously passionate about the sport.

New cricket bats should be seasoned a bit before they are used. This is called knocking-in and involves hitting the bat surface with a bat mallet or with a cricket ball. This action will compact the fibers inside the bat and should help prevent it from snapping or splintering during use. The product manual that comes with your bat will tell you to knock in your bat for three to six hours, and this is usually about eight thousand hits to the bat. However, some manufacturers offer pre-knocked cricket bats at a higher price. Your choice will depend on whether you want to save money or save time.

These specialised bats have come a long way since that early hockey stick look alike. As players realised the effect the bat material and shape had on their ability to hit the ball, they made changes and alterations until they created the modern cricket bat. Even today individuals are tweaking their bats, trying to get the best performance. Some have tried different materials like aluminum blades or lightweght carbon in the handle, but these usually get regulated against. International cricket officials pay close attention to any changes and work to preserve tradition in the sport. Their intent is not to stifle progress, but ensure that any changes in equipment are true to the sport and fair for all its participants.

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