No understanding of a sport is complete without truly diving into and understanding the history of the equipment that the sport uses. And cricket is no different. The history of a cricket bat, some say, date as back as to 1620. What exactly is a cricket bat? It is one of the two essential pieces of sports equipment needed in a game of cricket. It is used to hit a ball coming towards you (as a batter) at extremely high speeds. Cricket bat history sheds a light on the evolution of a cricket bat when it comes to the build, shape, size, and weight of the bat; all of which are important elements in having the perfect bat for a cricket game.
Below are some roughly outlined variations but are not considered hard and fast points of variations as the time of a few years (with minute variation in the bat manufacturing) are put under a specific variation umbrella. Before moving on check out our betting live rates https://24betting.com/betting/cricket.
The very start – first bat variation
The game of cricket as we know it was very different at the start of its evolution. Back then, around 1624, bowlers were allowed to bowl underarm (which is now considered illegal). Due to being allowed such a style of bowling, bats back then were shaped more like the hockey sticks that we see today.
By the 1770’s the game tweaked its rules to accommodate ‘length bowling’. This is when the bat shape transformed from a hockey-looking stick to a more parallel stick with an allowed width of no more than 4.25 (the same as today) in size. However, in this key variation another interesting thing to note was that this bat was extremely heavy and the ‘swell’ i.e. the major part of the weight, was all the bottom of the bat.
By the 1820’s we see yet again another tweak in the rules of the game. Which we will continue to see well up until recent times. In the 1820’s, round-arm bowling was allowed resulting in yet another shift in the structure of the bat; it became lighter and the swell moved up instead of being at the bottom.
Let us look at the material of the bat in question. Until the 1830’s, bats were made of a single full piece of English willow wood; and due to them breaking more and more often we finally saw a change in the construction method of ‘splicing’ the handles with the body; a method that is still used in bats today. In 1835 the length of the bat was restricted to 38’ which we still follow to this day.
The 1850’s and 60’s saw a range of experiments and evolutions in cricket bat making. Manufacturers started inserting ‘spring’ of sorts into the handles of the cricket bat, which we see was later changed in favor of Indian rubber. In the 1860’s there was yet another slight altering of the rules resulting in the bat getting lighter and having a more refined shape, and with handles that were now being made of cane instead of English willow.
From the 1800’s to now, the bat is becoming and evolving into the bats that we see today. Some interesting facts to know about different bats and their specifics; The heaviest bats used in cricket history were by prominent players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Clive Lloyd, Lance Klusener, which weighed over 3 pounds and were made of great quality grade A English willow. The fastest bat speed ever recorded in cricket history was 134 km/h by Mahendra Singh while hitting a six. Knowing these only furthers the appreciation of the craft of creating and evolving the cricket bat.
It is quite interesting to note here that the cricket ball has not seen as many variations as the bat has. It has remained unchanged since the start of test cricket in 1877. The red colors of the balls have always been used in cricket from the start with a variation on a pink ball being used for some matches as well which was introduced in 2015.
As we saw, the designs of the cricket bat, including its weight, size, and material, all evolved drastically for the last few decades through changes in the rules of the game, the material of the ball, and through experimentation of what works ideal for a great game of cricket. Continuous experimentation by cricket manufactures is finding ways of making the bat feel lighter and experiment with weight distribution to achieve the best possible batting power.
Summary of the timeline
- 1624: First ever recorded bat that looked like a hockey stick
- 1771: The bat changed its shape; became broader into the shape we see today
- 1820s: Lighter bats with swells at the bottom were introduced
- 1830s: Splicing the handle with the bat was introduced due to older bats breaking more often because of their style of build.
- 1835: Restriction was put on the length of a bat to be no more than 35 inches
- 1840s: Whalebone and Indian rubber were introduced to be placed in the handle
- 1860s: Lighter bats of cane handles were introduced
- 1870 onward: Ongoing evolution of the modern bat that we see today
Cricket bat history enlightens us a great deal concerning the adjustment of the actual game and its players. The edges are significantly thicker and the center of the cricket bat is chunkier and a great deal lower in the edge. The utilization of slope shots, flicks and scoops in T20 cricket can in any case be helped by a higher sweet shot or prolonged swell. More consideration is paid to a cricket bat’s ‘bow’ shape, as opposed to large numbers of the straight sharp edges of the past.
The loads of cricket bats have expanded, however where contemporary bat-creators bring in their cash is figuring out how to deliver a cricket bat of gigantic power that doesn’t excessively think twice about feeling, and equilibrium. Cricketers of all levels are fussier than at any other time, and bat producers need to fulfill an inexorably educated and demanding crowd.