When you decide to buy a good cricket bat, one of the first questions that you encounter is, “Do you want a bat made of Kashmir Willow or an English Willow?”. But, what exactly is the difference between a Kashmir Willow and an English Willow? Also, which one should you buy? In this article, we answer all such questions that will help you understand the difference between a Kashmir Willow and an English Willow.
So, what is the difference between Kashmir willow and an English Willow? Kashmir Willow is a bit lower in quality, brown in color, heavier but affordable. It is grown in the hills of Kashmir in India. In contrast, the English Willow is the best quality wood grown in England. It is white in color, lighter with better grain distribution. It is hence more expensive.
But how does one identify a Kashmir Willow or an English Willow and which one should you choose? Let’s take a look at it in detail.
Difference between Kashmir Willow and English Willow
Often, a cricket bat is also known as a Willow. But, it is interesting to note, a Willow is actually the type of wood used for making a cricket bat! The botanical name of the tree from which this wood comes from is Salix Alba Caerulea.
Since almost all cricket bats are made of wood, it is a problem for most beginners to really figure out the difference between the wood used for one bat versus another.
For a beginner or an untrained eye, it can be even more difficult to differentiate between a bat made from Kashmir Willow and the one made from an English Willow. This is because wood for both the bats come from the same tree that we described above.
Did You Know?
The source of a Kashmir Willow cricket bat and an English Willow bat is actually the same tree i.e. Salix Alba Caerulea. When this tree is grown in Kashmir, it forms a different structure from the one grown in England because of the variance in moisture levels and the environmental conditions in which it is grown. This leads to a difference in the quality of wood of the tree and subsequently, the quality of the cricket bat based on its wood source!
Let’s look into some of the key differences highlighted in the table below between a bat made from Kashmir Willow as compared to the one made from an English Willow –
|S.No||Characteristic||Kashmir Willow||English Willow|
|5||Grains Visible||Not clear and vague||Clear and Straight |
(can be counted)
|6||Bat Sweet Spot||Smaller (Compact)||Larger |
|7||Bat Response||Good Ball Ping||Best Ping|
I am sure by now you have understood the difference at a very high level between the bat made from the two willows. So let’s get into the details of how each bat functions, things you should know about it, and then we shall take a look at which bat is better!
More About Kashmir Willow Cricket Bats
Now that we have seen the key differences between the types of bats, let’s get to know the bat made from the Kashmir Willow –
What about Kashmir Willow is different?
By now, you’ve probably understood the Willow is actually a type of the tree. It’s botanical name is Salix Alba Caerulea.
This tree was initially not found in India. However, as per some historians, around the 1920s, a few samples of this breed of the tree were planted in Kashmir in India. Kashmir was an ideal location for such deciduous trees as they grow well in cold climatic conditions. Today, this type of tree can be seen growing in Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh in India.
However, since the climatic conditions and the soil content are different in India as compared to England, a Kashmir Willow cricket bat exhibits different features than an English Willow cricket bat.
As a result, A Kashmir Willow bat as slightly lower moisture content. It is more dry and hard.
Furthermore, the density of the Kashmir Willow is also higher. This means, for the same mass of wood, Kashmir Willow will be heavier in nature than an English Willow.
You may notice the weight difference when you pick the two bats together.
How to Identify a Kashmir Willow Cricket Bat?
Identifying a Kashmir Willow can be tricky if you’re not used to seeing a bat all the time. Although a cricket bat usually comes with a sticker on top of it that says the type of willow used in making the bat. But, how do you identify whether the bat is genuine or not?
So, let’s look at some of the things that you should look for in a Kashmir Willow Bat –
- Color of the Wood – one of the most easiest and outstanding feature of the Kashmir Willow is the color of the wood. Kashmir Willow is Brownish/Reddish Brown in color. It is much darker in comparison to an English Willow. It can easily be spotted between the two. (Check out the image at the beginning of the post)
- Grains on the Wood – another thing to notice on a bat made from Kashmir Willow is the grains on the wood. Even though it may be in a straight line, but they are not consistent and clearly visible throughout the bat. Furthermore, the grains just get mixed with each other making it difficult to count.
How much does a Kashmir Willow Cricket Bat Cost?
Cricket Bats made from Kashmir Willow are relatively affordable in price. Here’s how much a cricket bat made of Kashmir Willow will cost in your respective country –
- Cost of Kashmir Willow Bat in India – If you are in India, you will get a cricket bat made of Kashmir Willow for a leather ball in the price range of Rs. 1000/- to about Rs. 5,500/–
- If you are in the UK – a Kashmir Willow cricket bat in the UK will cost you approximately £25 – £80 depending on the grade and the brand.
- If you are in the USA – a Kashmir Willow cricket bat will set you back by about $45 – $100 depending on the brand and the grade of the bat.
Who is it Best suited for?
A Kashmir Willow cricket bat is much cheaper than an English Willow cricket bat. Furthermore, although it doesn’t have the best response and a ping to the cricket ball, it still is a great value for money!
The Kashmir Willow cricket bats are most suited for junior cricket or if you are beginning to play cricket. It is heavier, thus it is great to help you focus on stance, skills, and technique. It is also cost-effective.
A Kashmir Willow cricket bat is best suited when the ball used is softer than the hard leather ball. In such a scenario, the difference between a Kashmir Willow and English Willow is not noticeable as the ball used is not hard enough.
However, one should not assume that a cricket bat made from a Kashmir Willow can not be used by professional cricketers! In fact, there have been a few international cricketers who have used a Kashmir Willow even at an international level! Just that the response is not the same as that of an English Willow.
Performance & Durability of a Kashmir Willow
A Kashmir Willow cricket bat generally gives a fairly good performance. Additionally, depending on the amount of cricket you play, the bat can last you for quite some time.
If you play once or twice a week for two hours using a Kashmir Willow, the bat should easily last for about 2-3 years!
However, if you are playing more frequently than that which includes more frequent net sessions or practise matches, then you should ideally be looking to upgrade yourself to an English Willow cricket bat.
What about Bat Maintenance and Knocking of a Kashmir Willow Cricket Bat?
If you do choose to buy a Kashmir Willow, you should be aware that even Kashmir Willow cricket bats require knocking and oiling before they can be used.
If used without knocking, it can end up damaging your bat or reducing the life of your cricket bat OR both.
It is recommended to protect your bat from water (especially the toe of the bat).
Kashmir Willow cricket bats require a bit of maintenance from time to time. It is mostly minimal in nature. Timely maintenance of the bat can help prolong the life of your bat. The cost of such maintenance is also not that high.
More About English Willow Cricket Bats
As you may have learned already, English Willow Cricket bats are made from the best quality wood. But it is important to understand what makes it different and unique. Let’s learn more about it below –
What is unique about an English Willow?
The source of the English Willow Cricket Bat is actually the same as that of the Kashmir Willow cricket bat. The tree is the same, however, the English Willow comes from trees that are grown in England.
English Willow Cricket Bats are supposed to be the most superior in quality primarily because of the wood used to make it. But, what about this wood makes it the best source for a cricket bat?
In a study conducted by Australian National University, two key learnings were identified –
- It was found that the English Willow has criss-cross fibers that create a mesh-like structure within the wood. This gives great strength to this type of wood.
- Furthermore, a transverse section of the English Willow indicates the presence of small pores within the wood that are filled with air. Thus, the English Willow functions much like a sponge, and therefore an impact with a hard leather ball gives a much better spring-like response.
As a result of this behaviour of the English Willow cricket bats, it is easier for a batsman to hit the ball farther with less power. Overall, they serve the purpose of a cricket bat in the best manner possible. Therefore, it is the most preferred option for international cricketers and, naturally, also more expensive than any other type of cricket bat.
How to Identify an English Willow Cricket Bat?
Identifying a cricket bat made from an English Willow is a lot easier than for any other type of a cricket bat! Don’t be fooled by what the sticker on the bats says as it can also be a fake product.
The two easiest ways to identify a cricket bat made from an English Willow are as follows –
- Color of the wood – An English Willow is more Whiteish in color as compared to other woods used. This is one of the most easiest way to distinguish an English Willow from other bats even from far.
- Grains on the Wood – Another tell-tale sign of an English Willow is that the grains on its wood are very easily visible. Unlike the cricket bat made from Kashmir Willow, the grains are not mixing with each other. They are quite prominent and can be easily distinguished. (as seen in the image above)
For most good bats made of an English Willow, it is recommended to have between 6 to 10 grains.
How much does an English Willow Cricket Bat Cost?
English Willow Cricket bats are the most expensive cricket bats out there as they are made from the best type of wood that is available for a cricket bat!
Typically, you may see a price difference of anywhere between 4 – 7 times that of a Kashmir Willow within the same brand. It can sometimes be even more than that depending on the grade chosen.
Here’s how much an English Willow Cricket bat will cost in India, UK and the USA –
- Cost of an English Willow in India – the starting price of an English Willow cricket bat in India would be around Rs. 4,000/ -. A good bat can be as expensive as up to Rs. 50,000/- or higher!
- Cost of an English Willow in the UK – In the UK, a non-branded English Willow prices start at around £35. However, a branded English Willow cricket bat for adults will come in the price range of £65 – £750!
- Cost of an English Willow in the USA – Similarly, the cost can range between $75 – $850 depending on the quality and the grade of the bat chosen.
Who is it best suited for?
An English Willow cricket bat is made from the best quality wood. It has a great sound when hitting the ball and a good punch. It allows the ball to travel farther much more easily.
The down side is that it is more expensive. However, the advantage that you get is that it also lasts longer.
Thus, an English Willow cricket bat is best suited for people who want to play the game professionally. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at an international level (but obviously that’s what you would be aiming for), but even if you are a batsman who likes to hit the ball hard and far, an English Willow can be a good choice.
Maintenance of an English Willow Cricket Bat
Since an English Willow cricket bat is made from wood grown in England, it has a higher level of moisture. These bats do require fair amount of care and protection.
Proper knocking and oiling of the bat can make sure that you extract the best out of your bat, and also help it last longer. While purchasing a cricket bat, do keep in mind that some sellers provide knocking as a complementary or even a paid service. If available, keep in mind to choose the same if you are not completely well-versed in the process.
Furthermore, accessories for an English Willow cricket bat can be a tad bit more expensive than that of a Kashmir Willow.
Therefore, not only does an English Willow require proper care and maintenance, but also the cost of its maintenance can also be slightly on the higher side.
So, which is Better? Kashmir Willow OR English Willow
If you were to purely compare the two strictly based on its performance, quality, and durability (which is what you would ideally need in a good bat), the answer is straight forward. A cricket bat made of an English Willow is definitely better than a bat made from Kashmir Willow.
However, the question that you need to ask is which one is better for you! The answer to this question will be completely based on how things stand for you.
If you are a beginner, amateur or even semi-professional, then I would highly recommend sticking to just a good Kashmir Willow cricket bat. If, however, you are playing more frequently, like to hit huge sixes or are a professional, my recommendation would be to go for a mid to high range of an English Willow Cricket Bat!
Choosing between the two bats can seem like a daunting task. However, if we understand the fundamentals behind what makes each of the two bats and how it can help us enhance our performance, it makes our task easier.
I hope this article has helped you learn a thing or two about cricket bats. Do check out our other posts and help us spread the word!