Cricket bat: Wikis

  
  
  

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A cricket bat is used by batsmen in the sport of cricket. It is usually made of willow wood. Its use is first mentioned in 1624.

A cricket bat, front and back.

This specialised bat is shaped something like a paddle, consisting of a long, padded handle similar to - but sturdier than - that of a tennis racquet, which is usually cylindrical in shape. This widens into the blade of the bat, a wider wooden block flat on one side and with a V-shaped ridge on the other to provide greater air flow in the follow through and greater strength to the over-all bat. The flat side (the front of the bat) is used to hit the ball. The point at which the handle widens into the blade is known as the shoulder of the bat, and the bottom of the blade is known as the toe of the bat.

The bat is traditionally made from willow wood, specifically from the Cricket-bat Willow (Salix alba var. caerulea), treated with raw (unboiled) linseed oil. The oil has a protective function, but also increases surface friction with the ball, thus control. This wood 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. It incorporates a wooden spring design where the handle meets the blade. The current design of a cane handle spliced into a willow blade was the invention in the 1880s of Charles Richardson, a pupil of Brunel and the chief engineer of the Severn railway tunnel.[1]

Law 6 of the Laws of Cricket,[2] as the rules of the game are known, limit the size of the bat to not more than 38 in (965 mm) long and the blade may not be more than 4.25 in (108 mm) wide. Bats typically weigh from 2 lb 8 oz to 3 lb (1.1 to 1.4 kg) though there is no standard. The handle is usually covered with a rubber or cloth sleeve to enhance grip and the face of the bat may have a protective film. Appendix E of the Laws of Cricket set out more precise specifications.[3] Modern bats are usually machine made, however a few specialists (6 in England and 2 in Australia) still make hand-made bats, mostly for professional players. The art of hand-making cricket bats is known as podshaving.

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 lost in the mists of time, it may be that the game was first played using shepherds' crooks.

Until the rules of cricket were formalised in the 19th century, the game usually had lower stumps, the ball was bowled underarm (which is now illegal), and batsmen did not wear protective pads, as they do nowadays. As the game changed, so it was found that a differently shaped bat was better. The bat generally recognised as the oldest bat still in existence is dated 1729 and is on display in the Sandham Room at the Oval in London.

Contents

Knocking in/Protection

The oldest bat still in existence dates from 1729. Note its shape, which is very different from modern-day bats.

When you buy a bat, it is already pressed but you still have to knock it in. Most bats, when first purchased, are not advised to be used straight away. They often include a small manual advising, for the safety of the bat, to "knock in" the bat by hitting the surface with a cricket ball or a special bat mallet first. This compacts the fibres within the bat and protects the bat from snapping, which would often be the case should the bat not be knocked in. It is advised by many cricket bat manufacturers, including Gray-Nicolls, Puma AG and Kookaburra Sport, that the time spent knocking the bat in should be around 3 to 6 hours, which would usually be around 8000 knocks on the bat. However it is worth the effort, as the bat becomes more controllable and manipulative of the ball, also providing the user with more power.

Some bats, however can be purchased pre-knocked (meaning that the bat has already been knocked during its manufacture). The price is higher but saves the owner a lot of time. These bats are said to have a negligible improving effect upon a given innings, but their main purpose is to increase the comfort and confidence of the batsman and to promote the quality and range of bats from their manufacturer.

It is highly recommended when you have finished knocking in your bat that you put a sheet of Extratec over the face of the bat to protect it from surface cracks and general protection. For more protection after knocking in your bat your can apply a toe guard to stop the toe from splitting and keep it protected from water seeping up the bat. Another option is you can apply shoe goo to the toe too, it does the same job as a guard but it can be easier to ground your bat when running between wickets. It is also recommended after every season of cricket that you re-coat your bat with oil just to keep the bat sealed

Variations/Technology of the Cricket Bat

The Australian cricketer Dennis Lillee used an aluminium metal bat several times in 1979, but was forced by the Australian captain to revert to a wooden bat after complaints by the English team that it was damaging the ball. The rules of cricket were shortly thereafter amended, stating that the blade of a bat must be made solely of wood.[2] More recently, Ricky Ponting used a bat (the Kookaburra Big Kahuna) with a carbon composite 'meat' (the large protruding area of wood out the back face) but the bat was altered by Kookaburra in conjunction with the ICC's demand.

Gray-Nicolls and Puma have created bats with lightweight carbon handles so that more weight can be used for the blade. The bats are the Gray-Nicolls Fusion, Matrix and Powerbow, and the Puma Stealth. From October 2008 these bats were banned and new rules were brought in by the MCC regulating the materials used in the handle and blade.

In 2008, Gray-Nicolls trialed a double-sided bat which is expected to be attractive to Twenty20 specialty players.[4] and in 2009, Mongoose introduced a new specialist Twenty20 bat designed to provide 20% more power and 15% more bat speed.[5]

References

  1. ^ "Severn Tunnel (1)". Track Topics, A GWR Book of Railway Engineering. Great Western Railway. 1935 (repr. 1971). p. 179.  
  2. ^ a b Website by the OTHER media (2008-10-01). "Law 6: Bats". Lords.org. http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-6-the-bat,32,AR.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  3. ^ Website by the OTHER media. "Laws of Cricket Appendix E - The bat". Lords.org. http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/appendix-e-the-bat,1028,AR.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  4. ^ "Twenty20's latest swipe: a bat out of hell - Cricket - Sport". smh.com.au. http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/cricket/twenty20s-latest-swipe-the-doublebladed-bat/2008/11/12/1226318741187.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  5. ^ "Mongoose Cricket Bats". Mongoosecricket.com. http://www.mongoosecricket.com. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  

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