Summer is cricket season, and if you're a budding batsman, you'll need the right cricket bat to make sure that you perform at your best. Here's how to choose the right cricket bat.
Size and materials
Generally speaking, the taller you are, the longer the bat you'll need in order to be comfortable when you play. If you choose a bat that's too short, you'll find yourself leaning over and reaching for the ball, which could cause a back injury.
Bats also come in different thicknesses. If you're a beginner and are only using lightweight practice balls, a tennis cricket bat should be fine. However, a heavier leather ball will need a thicker cricket bat to ensure control when you play your shots.
Cricket bats come in various weights. Lightweight bats tend to suit faster shots and allow easier control than heavy bats, making them a good choice for beginners.
The grain of wood that you'll see on the face of cricket bats is indicative of strength and longevity and is graded on a scale of 1 to 10. Generally, the tighter the grain that is present, the stronger the wood. A grain of between 6 and 8 should provide a good starter bat that will last and perform well.
Batting technique and pitch conditions
If you tend to play from the back foot, you'll be better suited to a bat with a higher middle than someone who is a front foot player and will prefer a lower middle bat. The pitch conditions on which you regularly play will also influence your choice of bat. Australian players usually experience harder pitches where the ball bounces high, meaning that a high middle bat makes it easier to make good contact with the ball.
Handle and grip
An oval shaped handle gives players good directional feel but can make control difficult for technical batsmen who may be better-suited by a round handled bat. If you have small hands, choose a thick grip so that the bat remains stable in your hands when you hit the ball. If necessary, you could have two grips fitted to give the bat handle extra bulk.
If you are an aspiring cricket batsman, it's important that you choose the right bat. Bear in mind the tips given above, and take a trip to your local cricket shop where you can ask their staff for more advice on which bat would be best for your needs.