Anatomy of a cricket bat
There's hundreds of terms in a technical sport like cricket and understanding those terms is necessary if you want to gain the extra edge. Specifically, looking at a cricket bat, there are 6 different ones that we'll quickly run through. Let's take Kookabura's bat as prime example.
A — EDGE PROFILE
The bat's edge profile inflates from its shoulders and maximises at the swell, resulting in prolific balance with an extended sweet spot that covers the width of the blade.
B — SPINE PROFILE
Its super spine profile adopts a traditional characteristic and operates in tandem with the edge of the bat. This in turn helps generate an influx of power and superfluous pick up.
C — SWEET SPOT
This is where maximum performance can be derived from. This brand maximises the size of the sweet spot, ensuring that centre strikes perform the best.
D — SCALLOP
In order for its profile to be maximised, scallops are used on either side of the spine allow the apex to extend without adding weight. Scallops minimise power loss by maximising edge profile and reducing rotation of the blade in off-centre strikes.
E — FACE PROFILE
The thickness of the blade is what the modern game revolves around. Therefore, Kookaburra has crafted two types to suit the demands.
Flat Face — a level striking area that allows more mass to be retained in the back of the bat to, in turn, maximise power profile.
Rounded Face — a slightly rounded face favoured by more traditional players. Gives a familiar look but yields a less expanded profile.
F — BOW
The bow which starts from the tip of the handle to the end of the toe is designed to enhance the position of the hands by placing them ahead of the ball. This is essential for stroke play.
A bat crafted from Grade 1 wood would outperform a bat made from Grade 3 wood. Since a bat is evaluated based on how well it drives, you can be assured that the bat you pick will perform accordingly to its type of grade.
A grain is regarded as a year in the life of a tree. The number of grains in a bat has always been up for debate and discussion. The old school of thought assumed that 8 straight grains on the face produced the perfect bat. However, since trees evolved reaching maturity more quickly, so did the definition of grading and grains. Let's look at each grade.
6 straight visible grains on the face along with some reed wood on the blade makes grade 1 evident in a bat. It is the most expensive willow, with the best looking blade that constitutes a small knot or speck in the edge or back of the bat.
More red wood is visible than that of a grade 1 bat. Odd blemishes or butterfly in the grain are made evident. It has similar number of grains to a grade 1.
Grade 3 offers the most value for money. Half the face is in tint/red wood colour and does not affect playability. It will have around 5 grains on the face in non-linear fashion along with some specs or butterfly marks on the face of the bat.
More than half the blade has a discoloured area and often constitutes only 4 grains along with butterfly stains and marks on the face of the bat.
Usually over half of the blade may have a discoloured area but the product playability should not be affected. There are often only 4 grains and there are more butterfly stains and marks on the face of the bat.
Similar to a grade 4 but constitutes more stain and is cosmetically worse looking.
SHAPE AND PROFILE
Bats are specifically designed either for front foot play or back foot play. In cricket, regardless of your preference you have to play both styles. Therefore it is imperative to pick a bat based on what feels right for you. It is impossible to cater to every players needs. But, it is advisable to pick a bat that has wood focused in your normal impact position. This will help maximise your potential.
WEIGHT AND PICK UP
We feel 'pick up' is more important than weight, as pick up determines how the bat will feel in play. Neither focus on a bat which is too light nor on one which is too heavy, as it will ultimately hinder your play. They say the holy grail of bats is one with a massive profile and a very light 'dead weight', but it is exceptionally hard to find. Hence, you should just pick one that feels right keeping the above points in mind.
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