An awesome cricket bat is a key equipment in any cricketers cricket bag.
The best cricket bats are not always the most expensive bats with the most amount of grains. We recommend the Kookaburra Ghost and CP platinum cricket bat if you are looking for awesome all round performance with really good ping. If you are looking at some of the higher-end bats, you may want to take a look at some of the other options we have researched below.
In this article, I’m going to go through some of the key questions that I get all the time about buying a new cricket bat especially coming up to a new season. Ok so here we go…
Does more grains equal better performance on a cricket bat?
This is probably the question that I get asked the most when people come to me about buying bats. The number of grains can start from five grains at the beginner entry level, all the way up to 20 in some top end cricket bats which I think is the maximum you can fit onto a cricket bat.
For me, it is not as simple as more grains of wood improving your performance dramatically.
When it comes to grains, it represents a year of growth in the tree. So, when you have a cricket bat that has five grains of willow, it simply just means the cricket bat is younger than that of one with 10 or 20 grains of wood.
So, you might be wondering what makes an older bat with more grains more expensive? Well generally, an older bat is naturally a softer bat in terms of its wood. Now this is quite important because a bat that has softer properties will perform better earlier in its life and won’t take as long to reach it’s peak performance which is what we all want as a batsmen.
What that means is that a harder bat with fewer grains will get better over time as it’s used more and more. It could take up to six months to a year to reach peak performance so you might not see the best results until the following season from purchasing the bat.
You might have probably guessed already what the benefits to that is right? The harder bats with less grains tend to be more durable and so last a lot longer.
What I will say though from my research is that, obviously wood is a natural product and so there will be cases where you get bats with 8 or 9 grains that will in fact feel quite soft.
Confused on profiles? Make it simple
This is also quite a common question when cricketers are looking for a bat coming up to the new season.
For me, the way I think about it is that a good bat is a good bat. It doesn’t matter about the profile. So, if there is a lot of wood at the bottom of the bat, then the bat will feel bottom heavy. Likewise if there is more wood in the top of the bat, it will feel top heavy even though this profile is rare in cricket because it would be wasted wood having it top heavy.
The most important thing is balancing the profile of the cricket bat that offers good ping! It doesn’t matter too much about whether there is any concaving or a duck built toe, you want the weight of the bat to feel balanced out with a nice long middle that goes from just above the toe to below the sticker line.
I never consider how my profile will affect my performance based on whether I’m playing on a low bouncing wicket or what surface I am playing on. I’m just focused on a profile that gives me confidence out on the crease with a great pickup that I know will ping off when I make contact with the middle.
How do I choose between concaving and no concaving with my Cricket Bat?
I used to wonder about this a lot because I’d see these cricketers handling huge cricket bats and never understand how they were able to swing all that weight. Then having spoken to a local bat maker, I understood that it came down to the concaving.
So, what I found out from this bat maker is that concave bats are like a fashion trend. They are made because they sell so well and can in fact be detrimental to the bat, if the concaving actually takes some wood out of the hitting area.
The key to any good bat maker is how they keep the weight down without sacrificing any power. So for people that want a full shaped bat with large edges, it will mean having a heavy bat. Only be concaving the bat, are they able to bring the bat weight down to a more approachable weight.
I would recommend sticking with the old full traditional style or just a slight bit of concaving because you want the bulk of the wood to be in the hitting area. For there to be concaving, the wood needs to be taken out from somewhere and is not the option that you want necessarily for your game. You might get big thick edges but for me, I prefer having the wood around the more central hitting areas because I think I get more power out of it.
What exactly is heartwood and how does it affect the performance of your cricket bat?
This is a topic that I feel not too many people know about when it comes to cricket bats even though it’s quite important and very easy to spot.
So, when you look down the face of your cricket bat, heartwood is the darker tone willow while the lighter side is generally sapwood.
Heartwood comes from the middle of the tree which is essentially where the tree grows out from. As you may have guessed, this part is an older willow because it’s been there longer as it’s part of the core of the tree. So, you’ll most likely get this type of wood with cricket bats that have 9 or more grains in them.
The question really now is whether it is good or bad for performance and durability? There’s a wide range of answers to this and each bat maker will tell you a different answer because there is no right answer.
For me, the only thing I have noticed with heartwood is that when your knocking in a bat, the heartwood seems to crack up a little bit so you have to be a bit more careful with the mallet. So this does worry me sometimes regarding performance issues but what I’ve learned is that adding an extra layer of fibre-glass tape over it really helps look after this part.
I don’t think it’s too much to worry about as long as you take a bit of care and the appropriate measures to look after the cricket bat.
Ok so brace yourself…. These are our top cricket bats right now.
Best Cricket Bats of 2019
1. New Balance PD 09
Selecting the right cricket bat for you is very important and I have always taken my time and assessed the options before purchasing. The New Balance PD 09 was a good initial choice for me as I enjoy playing on the front foot.
Conditions on local pitches mean I can get on the front foot easily and the mid to low sweet spot on the New Balance PD 09 allowed me to play some lovely shots. The ball travelled off the sweet spot nicely and had no problem finding the boundary when timed well.
The New Balance PD 09 is made from grade 1 English willow and the exclusive black and white graphics on the front and rear of the bat certainly caught the attention of my fellow players. The rounded handle meant I could easily grip the bat in my gloves and I had no problem manoeuvring the bat into different positions quickly to play a variety of shots.
The balance of the New Balance PD 09 is also very good and it never felt top heavy or as if it was going to move out of my control when at the crease.
2. Adidas Libro Elite
I am never sure what to expect when using a cricket bat made from a general sports brand. Adidas are one of the biggest names in sports equipment but they are not an exclusive cricket manufacturer. However, my fears were soon forgotten when using the Adidas Libro Elite.
The Adidas Libro Elite stands out from the crowd thanks to the bright graphics and grip pattern. I think you need to be a confident player if you are going to use this bat as I found some bowlers like to target players with what they consider to be ‘fancy’ equipment.
The high middle of the bat provides perfect balance and the Adidas Libro Elite feels light in the hands. It is possible to play a full array of shots with ease when using this bat. The bat is made from MCC A grade willow and the quality of both the bat and the grip is very high.
The Adidas Libro Elite has been endorsed by Stuart Broad and if you like to use a bat which is seen in the hands of a professional player this is a good choice. I highly recommend the Adidas Libro Elite despite my initial reservations.
3. Puma evoSpeed 4
Not all bats have to come in at the highest price end to be good quality and I found the Puma evoSpeed 4 fits nicely into the bargain bat bracket. This cricket bat is made from unbleached, naturally seasoned grade 4 English willow and while that is not the best quality it falls into the price range.
The thing I liked about the Puma evoSpeed 4 is the design and lightweight construction of the bat. The bulk of the willow has been positioned through the central region of the bat and this made for some very nice shots when I found the middle.
Thanks to the light weight of the bat, I was able to play some aggressive shots and getting the Puma evoSpeed 4 into position took minimal effort. The black, orange and yellow graphics look great and suit the style of the bat nicely.
I would say the Puma evoSpeed 4 is targeted towards a player who likes to play attacking shots rather than someone who is looking build a slower, methodical innings. If I was coming in to bat at five or six with the intention of scoring quickly, the Puma evoSpeed 4 would be very useful.
4. Adidas Pellara Adistar
The Adidas Pellara Adistar is another cricket bat which is at the lower end of the price scale and in most cases, you only get what you pay for. As one would expect from a cheaper cricket bat, I found the quality of the willow on the Adidas Pellara Adistar to be poorer than bats in the higher price range.
This is not a criticism of the Adidas Pellara Adistar, it is just a fact and what you would expect from a cricket bat at this price.
However, I found the Adidas Pellara Adistar to be a bat which is capable of playing every shot in the locker. As with most bats, you are only ever going to be as good as you are as a player and when finding the middle of the Adidas Pellara Adistar when facing fast bowlers, the ball would travel to the boundary with little effort required.
The bulk of the willow is in the middle of the bat but is spread out along the bat as much as possible to allow shots off other areas to feel good. You are not buying a top of the range bat with the Adidas Pellara Adistar but I found it is good enough for those just starting out.
5. Gray Nicholls Shockwave
Whether you are an experienced cricketer or new to the sport you will have seen the name Gray Nicholls and they are one of the top cricket equipment designers and manufacturers. The Gray Nicholls Shockwave is a great example of what they can do and is a delight to use in the middle.
I discovered this bat was made from Player English willow and this comes from the best 12% of the tree. The reason why I was not surprised to hear that is not because of the price but because of the performance of the Gray Nicholls Shockwave.
Even when playing shots off the back foot or a front foot defence, the ball came off the bat very nicely. It takes little effort to send the ball to the boundary using the Gray Nicholls Shockwave and if you find the middle of the bat, where you will see the dominant swell, you can send the ball to all areas of the ground.
Featuring the traditional Gray Nicholls logo and the additional blue shockwave graphics down the back, this bat shows the bowler you mean business and I thoroughly enjoyed using it.
6. Kookaburra Carbide Two
The Kookaburra Carbide Two looks very stylish and I think the silver/grey graphics and grip make the bat look great at the crease. The bat is made from Grade 2 English willow and this is very good quality. I could feel the quality of the bat to the touch and knew it was going to play well and last for a long time with the necessary care.
As a player who enjoys playing attacking shots, the Kookaburra Carbide Two was excellent. There was very little trouble in sending the ball to the boundary when the striking the middle of the bat and even shots away from the middle travelled well.
The weight of the bat is a standard 2lb 8.5 ounces to 2lb 11.5 ounces and there was no problem in playing a variety of shots. The Kookaburra Carbide Two does not feel bulky and whether it was playing a forward defence or a hook shot it was easy to move the bat into position.
I believe the Kookaburra Carbide Two is aimed towards club players who want to play attacking shots and it certainly lives up to the description of being a ‘big-hitting’ cricket bat.
7. Gunn & Moore Original
Gunn & Moore are one of the legendary names in cricket equipment design and you will immediately recognise the brand on the Gunn & Moore Original cricket bat thanks to the logo on the front and back of the bat.
If you like to make last second decisions on the shot you are going to play for each delivery, you will find the Gunn & Moore Original to be ideal. When using this bat, I found I could wait for a split second longer to decide on what shot I was going to play thanks to the ease of manoeuvrability of the cricket bat.
The concave shaping of the Gunn & Moore Original allowed for easy pick up and I could rest assured knowing that even if I failed to make a sweet contact on the middle of the bat, the higher swell and big edges still produced what looked a very good shot to those watching on.
The Gunn & Moore Original is not the cheapest bat you will find and you need to be serious about your batting if you are going to purchase one. However, it is a great bat to use and once you have played one innings using the Gunn & Moore Original you will be keen to play another.
8. Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0
Kookaburra are an Australian brand and they have been in business for a long time. I have generally found their equipment to be of a high standard and the Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0 does not disappoint.
Perhaps the first thing I should point out with the Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0 is the price and this comes in at the more expensive end of the scale. However, you get plenty of value for your money and the Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0 is a very imposing bat. I found it almost intimidated some of the other players due to the sheer size of the spine.
This bat was originally designed in collaboration with Ricky Ponting and it is easy to see the influence of the former Australian captain. The minimal bow helps to scoop the ball and get over the fielders inside the circle plus the mid-blade sweet spot made for some fantastic feeling shots when timed well.
Even if timing was a little off when using the Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0, I found the results are still very good. This bat is a great all-rounder, perfect for players regardless of their number in the batting line-up.
9. Newbery Invictus Player
The first thing that struck me about the Newbery Invictus Player was the colour scheme. The cricket bat uses a blue, white and yellow colour scheme on the graphics in addition to the classy looking Newbery logo. To me it almost gave the bat a retro kind of look and I liked it a lot.
The Newbery Invictus Player bat itself is made from Grade 2 willow and I found the mid-to-low extra wide sweet spot to be perfect when playing a variety of shots. Timing shots well is always important but I felt there was some margin for error when using the Newbery Invictus Player.
The larger bow and rounded back of the bat added the power achievable when using the Newbery Invictus Player and I never felt the need to swing the bat hard when attempting to score boundaries.
The balance of the bat was very nice and I always felt in control of my shots when at the crease. The Newbery Invictus Player design and colour scheme may not be for everyone, especially those looking for a modern touch to their batting equipment but I think it looks and plays great.
10. New Balance Burn+
Almost in direct contrast to the Newbery Invictus Player we come to the New Balance Burn+ and this bat comes with all the bells and whistles in terms of colour. Blue is the dominant colour on the graphics and handle, with the grip resembling a camouflage pattern. There are plenty of graphics and logos on the bat, including the top front, top middle, bottom back and on both sides.
Personally, I do not like too much in the way of bright colours and logos but for those with the confidence to use it, the New Balance Burn+ is excellent.
The bat is made from a 50/50 blend of Grade 2 and 3 willow and is very lightweight, which made it great for playing a full range of shots with ease. The New Balance Burn+ has been designed for players who like to make reactive shots and if you like to play fast, you may find this bat is exactly what you are looking for.
The New Balance Burn+ has certainly been made for players who want to express themselves at the crease and shot making came easy. If you like playing reactive, expansive shots the New Balance Burn+ is highly recommended.