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Construction[ edit ] Shaving a cricket bat The blade of a cricket bat is a wooden block that is generally flat on the striking face and with a ridge on the reverse back which concentrates wood in the middle where the ball is generally hit.
The bat is traditionally made from willow wood, specifically from a variety of white willow called cricket bat willow Salix alba var. This variety of willow is used as it is very tough and shock-resistant, not being significantly dented nor splintering on the impact of a cricket ball at high speed , while also being light in weight.
The face of the bat is often covered with a protective film by the user.
The blade is connected to a long cylindrical cane handle, similar to that of a midth-century tennis racquet , by means of a splice. The handle is usually covered with a rubber grip. Bats incorporate a wooden spring design where the handle meets the blade.
The current design of a cane handle spliced into a willow blade through a tapered splice was the invention in the s of Charles Richardson , a pupil of Brunel and the first Chief Engineer of the Severn Railway Tunnel.
The taper provides a more gradual transfer of load from the bat's blade to the handle and avoids this problem. The edges of the blade closest to the handle are known as the shoulders of the bat, and the bottom of the blade is known as the toe of the bat.
Bats were not always this shape. Before the 18th century bats tended to be shaped similarly to a modern hockey sticks.
This may well have been a legacy of the game's reputed origins. Although the first forms of cricket are obscure, it may be that the game was first played using shepherd's crooks. Evolution of the cricket bat The bat generally recognised as the oldest bat still in existence is dated and is on display in the Sandham Room at The Oval in London.
Knocking-in involves striking the surface with an old cricket ball or a special mallet. This compacts the soft fibres within the bat and reduces the risk of the bat snapping. The bat may also need raw linseed oil, which fills in the gaps between the fibres.
Appendix B of the Laws of Cricket set out more precise specifications. Bats are available in a range of sizes, with some manufacturers offering unique variations. Commonly found are children's sizes 0 to 6, youth size Harrow and adult sizes.
SH Short Handle is the most common adult size, whilst long handle and long blade options are also available. Children's sizes increase in length and width as the size increase.
Although most adult bats will be the maximum width permitted 4.
Variations[ edit ] The oldest surviving bat dates from Note its shape, which is very different from modern-day bats. Modern cricket bat in play Various companies have over the years tried new shapes that come within the laws of the game to make a name for themselves and to improve sales.
In the s the first shoulderless bats appeared from Slazenger. This allowed more of the weight to be redistributed to the "sweet spot" of the blade providing more power to each stroke, whilst still having good balance and light "pick up.
The s saw double-sided bats from Warsop Stebbing. With the advent of Twenty20 cricket, double-sided bats are experiencing renewed interest. By removing this wood, the bat became lighter, its sweet spot grew and its pick up improved.
Even though there is less material, strong strokes are still possible if well-timed. It allows weaker players to play many strokes they would otherwise omit from their repertoire.
The removal of wood from the rear has been copied by many other companies without much critical acclaim. After some discussion with the umpires, and after complaints by the English team that it was damaging the ball, which was later proved untrue, he was urged by the Australian captain Greg Chappell to revert to a wooden bat.
It was put on 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.
It was used by Newbery and Puma for 3 years before the concept was copied by Gray Nicolls with a hollow plastic tube. However, this provoked the MCC to change the law on materials in handles amid fears that the new technology would lead to an increase in the distance the ball was hit.
Also in late , SAFBats created a cricket bat with an offset edge, the edge offsetting allowed for an extended middle, better swing weight and increased performance without compromising the cricket bat's balance.
This change allowed more wood to be placed in the middle, as more attacking shots are played in the shorter version of the game.
In an extreme version of the Newbery Uzi shape named the Mi3 was launched by Mongoose.
On 11 March , Mongoose launched its range in India with the announcement of Matthew Hayden as the brand ambassador. Gareth Andrew , the Worcestershire all-rounder, scored the maiden with an MMi3 in professional cricket, when he hit off 58 balls at the Oval in against Surrey.
Black Cat Cricket then launched a T20 format bat, the Joker, in These worked on a similar principle to other T20 bats with the blade length reduced by one inch and an inch longer handle, but uniquely reduced the width of the bat to 4 inches in an adult bat.
Manufacturing[ edit ] Modern bats are usually hand made in the Sub-continent Pakistan or India due to the low cost of labour. Knocking a bat in compresses the surface wood fibres and allows it to be ready for use, as most brand-new bats will crack or badly dent if used in competition without being knocked-in.
This is usually done after purchase, although some are sold ready-knocked.
The process begins with the application of a layer of linseed oil to the surface of the bat, after which a worn-down 'soft' leather cricket ball or a specialised mallet may be used to repeatedly hit the face of the bat. After three to four hours of knocking in, another layer of linseed oil may be applied.
At this stage, the bat may be used in light practice but should not be used in competition without another few hours of knocking-in.
The splice of the bat should not be knocked as this will cause the bat to "jar". After being properly knocked in, the wood will make a slightly higher-pitched sound when hitting the ball and will feel softer to use.
During the knocking-in process, a fingernail is pressed into the front face of the bat to check if the bat is properly knocked in. If an indentation is left on the bat during this process, it shows that the wood is still not fully compressed, and should be knocked in for longer.
Many large sports stores and specialised cricket stores use special machines to knock in the bats for customers. Some manufacturers will roll the bats through a special press to compress the wood, however many bat manufacturers choose not to do this as the spring may be rolled as well, causing jarring.
Many bats that claim to be pre-knocked-in by the manufacturer should be manually knocked in anyway as this claim is not a guarantee that the bat is ready to be used in competition.
Oiling[ edit ] A traditional wooden bat has its surface oiled with raw linseed oil before play, and regularly during the season.
This has a protective effect on the wood, and also makes it less sensitive to humidity changes in the atmosphere, which could cause warping or splitting.
Another important factor is that it increases the surface friction of the ball to bat surface, giving better control of the shot. A worn surface can be noticed by the player, indicating that re-oiling is needed. Some bats are plastic-coated or other otherwise sealed on the surface and either cannot be oiled, or do not require oiling until this coating begins to wear off.
The willow used in making these bats was brought in by the British, who ruled India , during the s. Kashmiri bats require constant knocking and oiling to make the bat good enough to use in a cricket match. Knocking makes the fibres of the willow blade compress together, which helps the bat bear the impact of the ball.
Another major aspect of taking care of such bats is oiling. Oil is applied on the back, toe, front and edges of the bat to make it more durable and to ensure the fibres get knitted properly.