There’s nothing like getting a new bat to celebrate the start of your cricket season. With improvements in technologies and materials, there are some really incredible options available to both juniors and seniors alike.
It can, however, be tricky to navigate the world of cricket bats with the varying designs, materials, and price-points.
After the summary table below we discuss some of the key things to look out for when choosing your cricket bat, followed by detailed reviews of our favourite bats on the market.
Our top pick: Kookaburra Ghost Pro
A high-end, mid-profile bat, the Ghost Pro is designed to excel in a wide range of shot types. It provides a lot of forgiveness thanks to its very full blade and thick edges while a round handle assists with its superb pick-up.
Constructed from Premium Grade 1 English Willow, the Ghost Pro pings very nicely starting high up the face, meaning you get maximum return on your shots.
An excellent bat for all forms of the game, the Ghost is sure to set itself as a favourite amongst Kookaburra fans.
- Very well balanced
- Large edges
- Grade 1 English Willow
- More expensive than other options
Upgrade pick: Kookaburra Kahuna Pro
A premium short handled bat, the Kahuna range have been at the forefront of Kookaburra range for almost 20 years.
With fat edges and a mid-blade sweet spot, the Kahuna will be right at home in all forms of the game.
The Pro 2000 is one of the premium bats Kahuna range, being made from Grade 1 Unbleached English Willow.
Favoured by balanced batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Moeen Ali and Ian Bell, the Kahuna comes with a superb pick-up while still delivering very impressive ping off the blade.
- Fat edges
- Good Pickup
- Grade 1 English Willow
Gray Nicolls Atomic 1200
A powerful bat from Grey Nicolls, the Atomic is designed with a modern profile, featuring huge edges and one of the biggest sweet spots of any bat legal under current regulations.
The 1200 sits in the middle of the Atomic range and is made from Grade 1 English Willow. Designed for all forms of cricket, a slightly concave flat face provides superior ping, while a semi-oval maximises comfort and control.
Endorsed by the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Shaun Marsh, Matt Renshaw and Cameron White, you’ll be in good company if you choose to make this your next bat.
- Huge edges
- Big sweet-spot
- Good pick-up for its weight
- Toe requires a good knock in
- Slightly narrower than other bats
New Balance DC680
New Balance bats are becoming more and more popular, especially with players like Steve Smith, Joe Root and Jason Roy opting for them as their favoured blade.
Perfect for players with a large repertoire of shots, the DC680 is very well balanced and has a great pick-up. With a low profile and large edges, it is very forgiving and feels great in the hands.
- Great pick-up
- Thick edges
- Large sweet spot
- More expensive than other options
Gray Nicolls Velocity 900
A very lightweight Grade 2 English Willow bat perfect for shotmakers. A high to mid sweet spot favours square of the wicket players and assists with balance and pickup.
The edges on the Velocity are smaller than others on this list, with most of the volume built into the spine with minimal scalloping. A semi-oval anti-shock handle provides great grip and control.
- Very lightweight
- Great pickup
- Good for square of the wicket shots
- Less power than other bats on this list
How To Choose a cricket bat
The best cricket bat for you will depend on the type of player you are, the format of game you prefer, personal preferences and budget.
Keep the following factors in mind when you evaluate your alternatives for a new bat.
Style Of Player
Most bats are generally designed to be very well balanced for all types of players, however especially once you get to a senior level you will want to consider choosing a bat that is more specifically designed to fit your playing style.
Batsmen that play predominantly off front foot will usually want a sweet spot positioned mid-low on the blade, while back foot players will benefit from it being positioned mid-high.
It is important to understand the concept of pick-up when selecting a cricket bat.
Pick-up refers to the ease of lifting a bat into its backlift position before a shot is played, and is considered to be much more important than the dead weight of the bat.
In fact, many brands and stores no longer publish the specific weights of bats, instead grouping them into categories, so that decisions are not made based on a bat being a few KGs lighter or heavier than another.
While impossible to measure in general terms (as will be different for each player), it is important to keep in mind that the dead weight of a bat doesn’t always translate into how heavy the bat feels in the hands. Read more about pick-up here.
Types Of Willow
Almost all medium-high grade bats are constructed from English Willow. You then have a range of grades from 1 – 5 with 1 being test match grade and 5 being the lower quality.
The higher quality grades should be unbleached and contain few knots or blemishes, especially on the face of the bat.
The lower grades are often bleached and may contain irregularities and knots on the face.
Generally speaking, if you are buying from one of the big manufacturers, as you pay more or less for a bat you will get a higher or lower grade of English Willow.
Very cheap bats are usually made from Kashmir Willow, which has a higher moisture content and is therefore a heavier bat material.
While popular in junior level bats, these are not recommended for competition cricket.
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Most bats will require you carry out the process of “knocking-in” to ensure the willow is ready for the hard impacts it will face in a game.
For this process you should really use a bat mallet however a cricket ball held in the hand will suffice.
Even if the bat is marked as “match-ready” it’s better to be safe than sorry and knock the bat in before match day.