There is a lot to learn when you play the game of Cricket. Even a seemingly simple cricket bat has several aspects that one needs to know! The batsmen these days are very particular about the make, size, and weight of their bat. But, in order to customize it, one needs to know the various parts of the cricket bat and their names!
Various parts of a cricket bat include –
- Bat Handle
- Bat Shoulder
- Bat Splice
- Bat Face
- Bat Spine
- Bat Swell
- Bat Sweet Spot
- Bat Toe
Knowing these terms and what they mean will help you identify the perfect bat for you. Furthermore, if you ever need to compare two cricket bats, a detailed understanding of these terms will be of great help. So, in this post, we cover the aforementioned terms in detail along with some other associated information that you need to know!
What is a Cricket Bat?
A cricket bat is a critical equipment used by a batsman in the sport of cricket to hit the ball. A cricket bat is usually made of willow wood used from Salix Alba Caerulea, however, the bat handle is usually made from cane wood.
Before exploring the parts of the Cricket bat, let’s have a closer look at a Cricket bat. In the below image, one can see the back, the side, and the front angle of a bat in that order.
As per the Laws of the game, the maximum allowed length of the bat is 38 inches, the width cannot be more than 4.25 inches, while the overall depth cannot be more than 2.64 inches, and edge cane be no more than 1.56 inches.
Various Part of a Cricket Bat
I prefer to usually explain the details in a particular order. That way, it is easier for me to explain and for you to understand. So, let’s start from the top of the Cricket bat, starting with the Bat Handle, and explore it as we go down to its bottom.
1. Bat Handle
A Bat handle is the cylindrical wood, the part of the bat which a batsman uses to clutch the bat with one hand above the other. To ensure the bat does not slip out of the hands, the handle is covered with rubber grip.
The handle is usually made as a different piece of wood than the main bat itself. It is generally made from white willow wood and is attached to the main body of the bat via a joint called a splice.
Cricket bats also come with different size of the bat handle.s A Bat can be either of a short length or a long length. For individuals who are tall (over 6 feet), long handle bats are extremely useful. The total length of the bat handle is generally in the range of 33 to 35 inches.
2. Bat Shoulder
This exactly goes by the word, and like the shoulders of the human body, the bat’s shoulder connects the bat’s handle with the main body. This part of the bat is not primarily used for striking the ball; however, any connection of the ball with this part is counted as legitimate connect.
When purchasing a bat, ensure that the shoulder of the bat is a bit curved as this helps in holding the bat better. The curved shoulder often causes the grip of the bat to move up. A quick solution to fix the grip from moving up is to put a tape on the grip around the shoulder of the bat.
3. Bat Splice
The splice is the V-shaped shaped piece of wood. It is the bottom part of the handle which is joined to the blade of the bat. The splice absorbs the impact as the ball makes contact with the blade. If soft willow is used in the bat, the splice could absorb the impact well and the ball rebounds further off the blade.
4. Bat Blade
The blade of the bat is the main part of a cricket bat. In order to verify the grade of a cricket bat, you will need to evaluate the blade of a cricket bat.
Additionally, the blade of the bat can further be categorized into four parts, the edge, the face, the swell, and the spine. Generally, it is flat-fronted, with a ridge at the back.
Let’s understand each of these 4 parts of the blade of the bat
You may often hear the commentators say that the batsman has edged the ball to the slips! This basically means that the ball hits the side corner of the bat.
The two sides of the blade starting from the shoulder till the bat’s toe form the edges of the bat. The inside edge (right side edge for a right-hand bandsman) or the outside edge (left side edge for a right-hand batsman) is what most of the bowlers look for.
This is the part where a ball hits when a batsman mistimes the ball or gets deceived due to spin, swing, or bounce of the ball. The same, however, could save a batsman from an LBW (Leg Before Wicket) appeal, or sometimes such mis-hits could grant a few lucky runs to the batsman.
It is the front side of the bat between the shoulder and the toe of the bat. This part of the bat is primarily used to strike the ball and its maintenance is very important to maintain the performance of the bat. Some cricket bat blades are covered with hard plastic to protect the wooden surface from wear and tear.
4.3 Bat Swell
When viewed from a side angle, we can notice a swell at the back of the bat. Cricket bats have less wood at the shoulder and the thickness increase towards the peak of the profile, decreasing again towards the toe of the bat. Batsmen aim to hit the ball with the portion of the face at which the swelling at the back is the most.
There are three kinds of swells Cricket bats.
Low Swell Cricket Bats
The low swell cricket bat usually have the bulge towards the toe. Such Cricket bats are more suited for attacking batsmen, the ones who love to play on the front foot.
Middle Swell Cricket Bats
The middle swell bats are better for beginners. Such cricket bats are also preferred by the batsmen who can play shots on the front foot and the back foot with equal ease.
Higher Swell Cricket Bats
Such bats are ideal for the batsmen who love to open their stance and swing as hard as they can, like MS Dhoni. Higher swell cricket bats are also useful for batsmen that prefer to play cut shots, pulls, and hook shots.
You may also notice that the swell on a cricket bat usually causes a bit curved on it’s face. We wrote an entire post about why a cricket bat is curved and the impact a curve can have on a cricket bat. Be sure to check that out!
4.4 Bat Spine
A line at the center of the back of the bat is called the spine. The back of the cricket bat or spine provides the overall profile and weight. Like the spine in human bodies, the bat’s spine gives the strength and rigidity to the bat.
5. Bat Toe
The toe of the cricket bat is the bottom part of the bat. It is normally placed on the ground while readying to face the delivery. Due to frequent friction with the ground while taking the stance or while dragging it into the crease during a run, this part of the bat gets damaged easily and frequently.
A toe guard is normally used for its protection of the toe of the bat.
6. Sweet Spot – The Most Crucial Part of a Cricket Bat!
The sweet spot is the vital part of the bat. It is that area of the bat where the ball receives maximum acceleration with the least vibration in the bat after the hit. The intention of a good batsman is always to hit the ball from the sweet spot of the cricket bat!
Scientifically speaking, the sweet spot is usually about 150 mm from the tip of the bat. The sweet spot transfers the maximum amount of energy into the ball and the least amount of energy to the batsman’s hands post-impact, minimizing the unpleasant stinging sensation felt by the batsman in his hands.
What are the Types of Cricket Bats?
Bats are made of naturally fibrous wood called willow. The willow goes through some processing, treated with oil which gives it a protective function. A bat consists of grains, forming the lines on the face of the bat. The types of willows used to make the bat are:
The English willow is a soft and fibrous wood. It is softer compared to the Kashmir willow and has thicker blades. Made using the premium quality of wood, it gives the desired outcome and the best performance.
The Kashmir Willow is heavier compared to English willow since the wood used to make a Kashmir willow is harder. Performance-wise, the bats made using Kashmir Willow does not give the same performance as compared to English willow bats, and hence such bats are slightly less popular.
We wrote a complete post on the differences and the nuances of a cricket bat made from Kashmir Willow and an English Willow. Be sure to check that out by clicking the link below –
What is Knocking-in of a Cricket Bat?
Before the first use, any Cricket bat should be “knocked in”. The process compresses the blade’s fibers enabling it to be ready for use. New bats would crack or be badly dent if used without being knocked-in.
The knocking-in is done by applying a layer of linseed oil on the surface of the bat, and then worn-down Cricket ball is used to repeatedly hit the face of the bat. After a few hours of knocking in, another layer of linseed oil is applied followed by another round of knocking-in.
That’s the cricket bat for you. I hope this article has given you enough insights into a cricket bat and how to utilize and take care of it for maximum impact.
You may be tempted to take your bat out of the closet now to have a look at its different parts and the make of it. Remember that although the skills of the person holding the bat matter more than the bat itself, a bat needs regular care and repair for it to last longer and perform better. Take care of your cricket willow.