, Choosing a bat, Sports Emporium, Sports Emporium

Choosing a bat

Buying a bat is as much as its fun is a daunting task when you don't know what to chose. Price is a definite factor but did you know the ins and outs of picking the correct bat for your budget?

How to choose a bat?

The choice of bat is very personal based on the build of the player, his favorite shots, his weight preference, pick up etc…

As you are aware we have on our list about 24 players full and part sponsored in New Zealand through the brands we deal with. A good number of them play/played at a very high level including black caps, NZ A, First class.

Most just pick up the bats, have a feel for it and carry on using it.

There are some players that will put the bat on a weight scale and check the weight. This is really rare and mostly of players that are superstitious or pedantic about pretty much everything they do.

There are some players that solely look at the grain, more the merrier for them. They are fine with weight being up and down but the grains have to be plenty and look good.

There are some players that advise of what shape of bat they want. They likely give us their bat in the winter for us to replicate the shape. Not many do this but one or two ask for it.

There are players that are used to their preferred weight, size of the bat etc.. There is one gun player that has a bat length the same as size 6, full short handle, width of the bat as to the max allowed and about 3 pounds in weight. No one but for this player can actually wield it and he does wield it brilliantly. One of the best batsman we have seen over the years in NZ and he carves up lots of runs in first class.

Now from our experience we would like to share few things about choosing a bat:

Balance: Balance is everything. No matter how heavy or light it may show on the scale but pick up from waist up has to be light. I had a chance to pick up MS Dhoni’s bat and it was light as. When asked if he uses light weight bats, he said it’s nearly 3 pounds on a weighing scale but picks up like a feather. The weighing scale is nearly of no use if you pick up a bat and it feels like feather weight once the bat is at the top of your pick up. The first thing you would want to try in a bat is the balance.

Weight: It helps to have a lighter bat if you play fairly across the line. If you are not a high elbow player, play a bit flamboyantly and don’t necessarily play with tight technique the light bat helps you to get your hands in place. Players from no.7 and lower also prefer lighter bats these days given the number of bouncers they are dished up by the pace bowlers. If front foot is your strength and play with high elbow and late you are better off with a slightly heavier bat. Most best bats are between 2 pounds and 8 ounces to 2 pounds and 12 ounces. From 2.8 to 2.9 is not much of a difference, in fact it is 28 grams for each ounce. 50 extra gram if over your preferred weight but the bat picks up greatly then you are not going wrong there picking that bat up.

Grains: There are lots of conflicting thoughts about grains on a bat. Does more grains offer better ping than less grains? We don’t think so from our experience. Dry wood offers more ping surely and often the more grains bats are usually a lot drier so more ping is natural. That said even 4 grains or 5 grains bats also ping quite well if it’s drier. We had a chance to meet up with one of the largest supplier of willows from UK and he said the more grains cleft/wood are from the top of the tree and less grain wood/cleft are from the bottom. The bottom of the tree has seen more years hence lasts longer than closer grained bats. We can’t argue with that fact can we? Even Sachin Tendulkar’s bats generally had between 7 and 9 grains max. All our sponsored players say it’s nice to have more grains but they do break quicker. The most expensive bats are mostly between 9 and 15 grains. If you are buying a bat and working out how many grains you need to look for, then look for anywhere between 6 and 10 grains. The less grained bats take a lot more time to knock in but once knocked in you will not feel a difference between 15 grains and 6 grains.

Shape: There are several shapes in the bats these days. As a thumb rule below are the general shapes of the bats in most of the high-end brands we deal with:

BrandShape of the batShouldersMiddleToe of the batBottom shape
BASDolphin and traditionalRegular – neither thin nor too thickDophin shape has higher middle, traditional a bit lowerFlat and full depending on the shape of the bat.Flat and round. The latest Dhoni shaped bats have exaggerated round.
DSCDolphin and traditionalRegular – neither thin nor too thickDophin shape has higher middle, traditional a bit lowerFlat and full depending on the shape of the bat.Flat and round.
MRFDolphin and minor convexThinner than most batsDophin shape has slightly higher middleFlat and full depending on the shape of the bat.Flat.
SGTraditionalRegularLow to high middleRound.Round. The latest Dhoni shaped bats have exaggerated round.
SM PintuDolphin and minor convexThinner than most batsDophin shape has slightly higher middleFlat and full depending on the shape of the bat.Flat.
SS TonDolphin and minor convexThinner than most batsDophin shape has higher middleFlat and full depending on the shape of the bat.Flat. The latest Dhoni shaped bats have exaggerated round.

Again, shape is personal preference. To be fair all the shapes are more or less covered by the manufacturers above. Some players like traditional shape and some like flat toe Dolphin shape. Dolphin shape is very popular among the manufacturers but the traditional shaped bats have been there forever.

From our experience we can’t quite say what shape is better. They both do the job. Some deliberately look for traditional shaped bats but our sponsored players don’t ask for a specific shape. They just do with what they get from their respective sponsored brands. They don’t seem to have a problem with any shape.

That said we know from experience players don’t really look at how thick the edges are but they look at how big the splice is. As long as the splice is 6.5 inches and the peak is right in the middle of the bat they are happy.

Grade of the bat: The bat grading is done based on many factors. Face of the bat, back of the bat, number of grains etc… Now there is no standard practice although many claim standard practice. Sure there are limited number of closed grained clefts available in the market so the prices are very high for this but that said the grading in our opinion is a bit of a grey area. Some times Grade B bats look and feel better than Grade A although not always the case. DSC bats mid grade beats any bat in the market for looks. Doesn’t necessarily mean better looking bat is a going to be better performing one. Generally the top 2-3 ranges of every brand are outstanding performers. Lower grade (grade 3 and 4) bats don’t necessarily look all that great and will have blemishes, knots etc but with proper knocking in it will come good with time. If you have limited budget then look for a well balanced bat and put to rest the grade of the bat. Work on the bat, knock it in proper and it’ll come good in time.

Brands: Given the same shape is followed by different brands what’s the best then? This is a million dollar question. All the reputed brands above know how to make a bat given their pod shavers have decades of experience making bats. You will not go wrong with any of the brands. Some like the presentation of the bat such as stickers, bat bag and general outlook of the bat. Believe it or not even professional players care about how a sticker looks and what colour they want to sport. Most of the brands now have come a full circle from having colourful big logos to discreet colours and smaller stickers. We trust all the above major brands will do a good job. In fact we know each of the pod shavers personally working at the above factories and can’t fault any of them. They are outstandingly skilled.

Indian brand?: The truth is majority of the cricket goods are manufactured in India. Look around the international sides and you will see the brands that are used by the best of the players. Good number of brands from around the world have sub contracted to India to produce their bats. In India sports goods manufacturing of big brands are not cottage industry, they are massive.

What about buying a bat over the internet? What if you decide to buy over the internet? Does it give you enough information to have a satisfied purchase?

We are selling online so the question and the answers to these questions are quite obvious. Yes you can buy online going by the details of the bat on the website and if in any doubt we are happy to help you over the phone or our helpline on the website. We are extremely happy to help you chose the best for your hard earned money. We know more than a thing or two about bats. There will be no sales pitch, just honest an opinion from us if you are in any doubt. We will help you chose the best stick given your preferences.

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