The parts of a cricket bat look simple at a first glance. Initially, when looking at the front of a cricket bat, you are drawn to the handle at the top and the blade – the main part of the bat extending from the end of the handle to the toe.
But the splice is also noticeable. This is the upside-down triangular shape towards the top of the blade. It is attached to the handle and binds the handle and the blade of any cricket bat together.
However, aside from these three sections, each part of a cricket bat can be broken down further into smaller sections. These various parts of a cricket bat may be referred to when someone is purchasing a new cricket bat, or by commentators and professionals during broadcasted cricket matches.
Knowing the different parts of a cricket bat is important for any player in the game as it helps to provide long-term treatment and care to get the best out of any cricket bat.
Parts of a Cricket Bat
In addition to the three main parts of a cricket bat (the handle, the blade and the splice), there are many other sub-sections. Below is a breakdown and a short definition of each part of the cricket bat.
- Handle: The thinner, cylinder shaped piece at the top of the bat. The batter uses the handle to grip the bat and it is usually cased in a removeable rubber or plastic tube.
- Shoulder: Two flat, straight pieces that run level with the bottom of the handle.
- Splice: An upside-down V shape that runs on from the handle, into the top of the blade.
- Edge: The two sides of a bat’s blade, which run parallel on each side from the toe to the shoulders.
- Face: The front side of the bat, which runs from the shoulders to the toe.
- Spine: A thin strip that sticks out on the back side of the cricket bat and runs nearly three quarters down the back of a bat.
- Swell: When viewing a bat from a sideways angle, a bat is thin from the shoulders, bulbs out gradually towards the middle and thins again at the bottom. The bulbed shape is called the swell of the bat.
- Sweet Spot: An area between the middle of the face and the beginning of the toe on the bat, usually where the swell is largest. Players will aim to hit the ball from the sweet spot to achieve maximum timing and power.
- Toe: The slightly rounded bottom part of the cricket bat.
What Is the Splice of a Cricket Bat?
The splice of a cricket bat is the upside-down V shape towards the top of blade, just below the handle.
The splice on a cricket bat is a type of woodworking joint, used to bond the handle strongly to the blade. It is an extended part of the handle that helps the bat to absorb the impact of a hard ball and provides players with control down from the handle.
What is the Swell on a Cricket Bat?
The swell on a cricket bat is where it protrudes out, which is visible only from viewing a bat from a side profile. As it’s the thickest part of any bat, the swell is where a player can generate the most power from.
Cricket bat manufacturers often make bats with three different types of swell, suited for the needs and style of different players.
- Low Swell: Lighter bats for players with more refinement and finesse to their shot play. There is less weight behind the swell, meaning timing is more important to get the most out of a low swell bat.
- Middle Swell: A well weighted and balanced bat that isn’t too heavy. Middle swell bats are often used by beginners who are looking to develop their technique and timing when batting.
- Higher Swell: Heavier bats with a larger swell in the middle. Higher swell bats are suitable for players looking for maximum power from their shots. Useful in shorter game formats, where getting the ball in the air for quick scoring is essential.
What is the Sweet Spot on a Cricket Bat?
The sweet spot of the cricket bat is located in between the middle of the face and just before the toe on the bat. It is referred to as the ‘sweet spot’ because a shot will feel effortless and no vibration is felt through the batsman’s hands as a result of a mis-hit or mis-timed shot.
The sweet spot is the part of the bat that is highly reinforced and has the most amount of bulk from the swell. Therefore, the sweet spot provides the maximum power and precision for a batsman when they strike the ball with this part.
Some of the best players in the world train in the nets in an attempt to consistently find the sweet spot so they can play different types of deliveries. A shot that comes off any other area of the bat often provides varying forms of vibrational feedback through the gloves and can cause discomfort.
What Are Cricket Bat Handles Made Of?
Most cricket bat handles are made from cane but, in some circumstances, white willow is used. Cricket bat handles are usually bound together with twine and have a cylinder shape extending from the shoulders to the top of the bat.
Bat handles are always made from a different type of wood to the blade, which is crafted from willow. The wood of a cricket bat handle is also covered with a plastic or rubber tube, first used in 1853 after batsmen felt too much vibration coming back off the exposed wood of the handle when playing a shot. This tubing is usually placed over the top of the cane or white willow handle to support the batsman’s grip when preparing and executing a shot.
Do You Need a Toe Guard on a Cricket Bat?
A toe guard is a cricket bat accessory that can be placed over the bottom section of the bat to prevent wear and tear or feathering. It also prevents moisture from seeping into the toe, which can cause the fibres to expand and ruin the feel of a bat.
Wear and tear can be a more common problem for the toe of a cricket bat cricket bat because it is used constantly and tapped on the crease by a batter before playing a shot.
By applying a toe guard, a piece of material that reinforces the bottom of the bat, the toe is further protected from the elements and from the hard or soft ground of the crease. A toe guard is a cheap and effective way of improving the longevity of a bat and can be easily applied.
However, while a toe guard is preferred by some players, it is not a completely necessary accessory to apply. Although it provides additional protection, a toe guard can increase the overall weight of a bat, which ultimately impacts the feel for a batter when playing a shot.
What Does an Anti-Scuff Sheet Do?
Anti-scuff-sheets are thin pieces of material that a player can easily apply over the face of their bat to protect it from the impact of a cricket ball bowled at pace. It is another layer of protection to prevent the bat face from wear and tear. It also adds another layer of protection against water, which can seep into the wood of a bat and cause the fibres to expand, when playing in wet conditions.
But an anti-scuff sheet rarely provides extra weight and power for a bat. Instead, it just protects the face from markings, scratches, dents etc.
At amateur level cricket, if a bat is knocked in thoroughly and correctly, it shouldn’t be harmed too much from ball impact because the pace of delivery is generally slower compared to the professional levels.
Different Sizes of Cricket Bat
According to the Marylebone Cricket Club Laws of Cricket a player’s cricket bat has to meet certain, specific, dimensions to be considered legal in the game of cricket.
When selecting their bat, a player must ensure it adheres to the following dimensions and materials:
- The overall bat length, when the lower part of the handle is used, cannot measure more than 38 in/96.52 cm.
- The blade of bat cannot be longer than the following: Width: 4.25in / 10.8 cm, depth: 2.64in / 6.7 cm, edges: 1.56in / 4.0cm.
- The handle cannot be more than 52% of the overall length of the bat (unless a player is using a bat measuring size 6 or less.)
- Any material permitted for covering the blade, such as an anti-scuff sheet, shall not exceed 0.04 in/0.1 cm in thickness.
- Any protective material placed on the toe of the blade, such as a toe guard, must not be more than 0.12 in/0.3 cm.
There are many different parts of a cricket bat and each is important to know when preparing or using a bat. Understanding how wear and tear occurs on each part helps to choose the best bat care so a player can get the most out of a cricket bat.
Knowing how best to protect each part of a cricket bat can improve the shelf life on any bat and ultimately improve the player’s quality of cricket too.