The evolution of the cricket bat has been a long and fascinating journey. Fans of the sport may not pay that much attention to this piece of equipment, but it is just as important as the ball, the skill of the player, and the game itself!
During the 90s, iconic players like Sachin Tendulkar took the world by storm with their performances. One of their secrets was using particularly heavy bats – weighing in at well over 3lb – to negate the miss hits and enhance their bat speeds. Unfortunately, these heavy bats led to severe back, elbow and shoulder injuries for many of cricket’s top players, prompting changes to the cricket bat design.
According to experts, the very first cricket bat came into being in 1624. It looked very similar to a modern hockey stick, and was used to lift the ball above the fielder’s head. If the fielder attempted to catch the ball, the batsman was permitted to hit him with the bat to dodge the catch. The bat’s evolution is comparable to that of eSports betting sites, being refined slowly over time.
Improvements in Width
As the classic game evolved, the bat’s width also improved. By 1800 there were plenty of new rules implemented by global governing bodies that allowed bowlers to roll their arms and create serious pace. In a bid to face this pace, new bats with wider widths were introduced.
Many different types of wood were originally used to create cricket bats. However, by the 19th century, sapwood trees were primarily used to make the equipment lighter and easier to hold. This improvement also allowed the bats to face the pace bowling quite well. It was around this time that cricket went professional, and batsmen began to experiment with different bats to make them as comfortable as possible.
New Woods Used for Bats
By the end of the 1700s, cricket had reached Australia, New Zealand, and numerous other countries. Different national teams began to experiment with local woods, creating a range of top-performing bats. In places like India and Pakistan, willow wood was used for its lightness and larger sweet spot. Unfortunately, willow wood also lacked the robustness of other popular woods.
In the 1960s, stars like Vivian Richards and Graeme Pollock made heavier bats popular among the sport’s fraternity around this time, popularising their powerful acceleration and notable blade.
Light and Powerful Modern Designs
By the end of the 20th century, the biggest problem with cricket bats was a reduction in their weight. Due to the injuries suffered by Tendulkar and Klusner years before, companies had emphasised the creation of lighter bats, which accelerated maximum power while playing shots.
Thanks to current ICC laws, modern batsman enjoy using resized bats to enhance their performances. Modern bats may have lost their durability, but most batters carry as many as 10 bats with them during a tour to compensate. These bats are well balanced in terms of weight distribution and speed, and clock in at lengths of around 38cm, widths of 4.25cm, edges of 1.56cm and depths of 2.54cm.