The History Of The Cricket Bat

The History Of The Cricket Bat

The Cricket bat is such an iconic piece of equipment it is easy to believe that it has always existed in its current form. That however could not be further from the truth.

The Cricket Bat

The Cricket bat originally resembled a hockey stick but was soon developed into the flat-faced design we know today. The original specifications of the bat were designated in the Laws of Cricket first published in the 1700’s and today the Marylebone Cricket Club maintains these laws.

Traditionally the bat is made from Willow wood and treated with Linseed oil. The specific variety of willow used is called Cricket Bat Willow, rather unsurprisingly. The variety of White Willow used is exceptionally shock resistant, being able to withstand multiple strikes to a hard cricket ball, while still retaining its lightweight.

The bat is held by a specially designed cane handle that connects to the blade of the bat through a splice. This handle is covered in leather to improve both grip and comfort. Chares Richardson, the senior engineer of the Severn Railway Tunnel, designed the splice used to join the handle and blade. His tapered splice design has become the standard for most modern cricket bats. The oldest cricket bat available dates back to 1729 and can be seen at the Sandham Room at the Oval in London.

The Size Of The Bat

The dimensions allowed for modern cricket bats are clearly drawn up in the Laws of Cricket. The bat cannot be more than 38 inches high, cannot be wider than 4.25 inches and may not have a depth of more than 2.64 inches. These values were only entered into the Laws of Cricket after 1771 and the “Monster Bat” incident.

During a match between Chertsey and Hambledon, Thomas White, batsman for Chertsey used a bat that was as wide as the wicket. The opposing team naturally took some umbrage with this defensive strategy and soon the dimensions of accepted Cricket bats were entered into the Laws of Cricket.

Even though 38 inches is the maximum allowed bat length, almost no commercially available bats exceed 35 inches. Bats generally weigh between 2 and 3 pounds but there is generally no specified limit to the bat’s weight as heavier bats simply limit a batsman’s mobility. When enjoying sports betting NZ knowing how bat weight affects performance can be a crucial point in deciding which way to wager, so it is a factor that will come in to play in so many ways.

Historical Variations

With the growth of modern manufacturing techniques after the 60’s, a multitude of bat design variations have been made, all within the strict rules of the Laws of Cricket. In the 60’s one of the main innovations came from Slazenger with their weight distribution to the blade’s back, making batsmen able to transfer more power to their shots. Lance Cairns made this bat famous during his 1983 batting run.

Before that in the 70’s double sided bats gained notoriety especially with shorter form matches. The 1974 GN 100 Scoop by Gray Nicholls used design elements that made the bat not just lighter but more powerful, giving physically weaker players a great new selection of shots that they could make. The design of the bat reduced the weight at the centre of the bat, in the rear.

In 1979 more specifications were added to the Laws of Cricket after Dennis Lillee used an aluminium bat. Since then companies have experimented with new materials, notably carbon fibre but the Laws of Cricket were again amended to prevent a player getting an edge through use of non standard equipment.