Discover the manufacturing process of cricket bats, from raw materials to finished products. Learn about the International Cricket Council's guidelines, types of cricket bats, and popular cricket bat manufacturers in India. Know about the raw materials required and cricket bat types ranging from English Willow to softball cricket bats.There have been a number of changes in the course of cricket with the advent of T20 cricket and the emergence of various cricket leagues, which entail a lot of capital and fame. The young population is heavily influenced by the popularity and money it brings in within a short period. All this has shown potential growth in manufacturing cricket bats and other cricket equipment.
The global cricket equipment market is projected to grow from USD 594.46 million in 2022 to USD 897.02 million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.05% during the forecast period. Cricket bats and balls are the basic equipment for cricket. This blog will cover the manufacturing process of a cricket bat and the raw materials used to make a cricket bat.
Did you know?The Indian captain, MSD, used the Reebok-branded English willow cricket bat to make history for India in their World Cup triumph after 28 years. RK Global Share and Securities LTD purchased the bat for Rs 83 lakhs, making it a valuable piece of memorabilia.
Top Cricket Bat Manufacturers in India
Cricket bats manufactured in India are exported worldwide. Following are a few popular cricket bat manufacturers in India who have built their cricket bat brands, including:
1. Sareen Sports Industries (Ss)
N.K. Sareen founded Sareen Sports Industries in 1969. The company sells its bats in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
2. B. D. Mahajan & Sons Private Limited
Since 1925, BDM has been a leading cricket bat manufacturing company in Meerut, NCR Delhi, involved in production and export.
3. Kookaburra Sports
Kookaburra is an international cricketing giant with a manufacturing facility in India.
4. Sanspariels Greenland (Sg)
It was founded as Sanspareils Co. by brothers Dwarkanath and Kedarnath Anand in 1931. SG bat factory is a well-rounded manufacturing company that produces everything from English Willow and Kashmir Willow Cricket Bats.
What Are the Guidelines for Cricket Bat Manufacturing?
The manufacturing of a cricket bat is done per the international cricket council guidelines, which have devised specific dimensional criteria for a bat to be used in international cricket.
Bat size limits are as follows:
1. Length of the Bat: When the lower portion of the handle is inserted, the bat's overall length shall not be more than 38 in/96.52 cm.
2. Dimensions of Blade: The blade of the bat shall not exceed the following dimensions:
- Width: 4.25in / 10.8 cm
- Depth: 2.64in / 6.7 cm
- Edges: 1.56in / 4.0cm
3. Bat Gauge: It should also be able to pass through a bat gauge. All bats that conform to the Laws of Cricket must meet the specifications defined by the Law. They must also, with or without protective coverings permitted, be able to pass through a bat gauge, the dimensions and shape of which are shown in the diagram on the following page.
What Are the Types of Cricket Bats?
Before we begin our journey of how a cricket bat is made, we should know the types of cricket bats available, which include:
1. English Willow
English Willow is the type of wood that is used for the production of professional cricket bats all over the world. This is because it is the only wood that provides the strength and compression needed for a cricket ball. English Willow bats are divided into five grades (1-5), with the highest grade being one, which means it’s the finest cricket bat quality, and the grains are straight on the bat.
2. Kashmir Willow
Kashmir Willow bats are heavier and more affordable cricket bats made from Kashmir Willow wood. They are made from Kashmir Willow wood and are often a key factor in the decision-making process when purchasing a cricket bat.The visibility and quality of the grains are more pronounced in high-quality willows, regardless of whether they are Kashmiri or English. In fact, some high-quality Kashmiri willows may even exhibit superior grain quality compared to low-quality English willows.
3. Softball Cricket Bats
Softball cricket bats are used to play with softball or a tennis ball. The name softball cricket bats is given to the bat because cricket balls are made of soft rubber. They are made of good quality wood or fibre to play with softball or tennis ball. However, they are different compared to professional cricket bats. In terms of cost, they are not expensive compared to English willow or Kashmir willow bats.
4. Training Cricket Bats
Training cricket bats are specialised cricket equipment to improve and practice your cricket skills. No particular piece of wood is used to manufacture these cricket bats. Training cricket bats can be Kashmir willow or English willow. As implied by the name training cricket bats, these cricket bats are used for training purposes in the field of cricket.
Raw Materials Used in the Manufacturing of a Cricket Bat
It is an intricate process to make a cricket bat from raw materials. Let us first look at the raw materials required. The raw materials required for a cricket bat are summarised as follows:
1. Willow Wood
Willow wood extracted from willow trees is used for making the blade of the cricket bat. Due to its unique properties, willow wood is the wood of choice for the blade of cricket bats. Willow wood offers high durability while being lightweight. These qualities help make cricket bats easy to manufacture because of easy chiselling and hammering. The lighter the bat, the quicker the batsman can manoeuvre it in the air. But some batsmen prefer heavy bats.
Two popular sources of willow wood are:
- British Willow wood/ English willow: British willow is lightweight, resilient, durable, and expensive.
- Kashmir Willow wood: Kashmir Willow is heavier but cheap and affordable.
The handle of the cricket blade is made of cane with rubber or plastic wrapped around it. This provides more rigidity and slight elasticity to protect the player's wrist and forearm from shock absorption.
The rubber material is used to cover the handle for better shock absorption and to avoid any slippage of the bat from the player's hand.
4. Linen Thread
To secure the handle with the bat, linen thread is also required.
While fixing the handle to the blade of the bat, a strong bonding agent is required. It is essential to form a bond between the handle and the blade.
Also Read:How Is Helium Manufactured Commercially?
How Is a Cricket Bat Made?
Now that you know the raw materials let us see how a cricket bat is made. Cricket bat manufacturing involves the same process worldwide. Manufacturing involves the following steps:
Step 1: Wood Selection
Out of the cuts made from the willow tree, the highest quality cuts are selected by a skilled lumberjack.
The main criteria usually involve:
- Straight Grains: Fine and straight grains are preferred for a better quality cricket bat.
- Avoiding Knots: The wood pieces selected should be free of knots.
- Avoiding Cracks: The piece of willow that shall be used to make a cricket bat should be free of cracks to allow shock absorption without defects.
From the cuts selected, the sapwood that can be seen below the bark is looked at and used as it is the newest part of the tree and pliable. This part of the willow wood is sawn and then carved into chunks of wood known as clefts.
Step 2. Air Drying The Clefts
The clefts made are left to air dry for around a year to remove any moisture left in the wood. This is a crucial step in making a cricket bat. It allows the wood to be finely balanced and provides better balance in the manufacturing process.
Step 3: Dimensional Cuts Made
After air drying, the clefts are cut down into the approximate shape and size of the bat for the upcoming fine detailing.
Step 4: Pressing
Making a cricket bat isn't as straightforward as it might seem to you. A heavy rolling machine is used to get the desired shape of the bat out of the clefts of willow wood. The clefts are put through the rolling machine, where it gets pressed as per the shape of a blade. The basic shape of a blade with curves is achieved here. This gives the bat blade basic structural integrity and compresses the wood fibres.
Step 5: The Making Of The Handle
Cane and rubber are commonly used for this. A V-shaped slit is made into the top of the blade. A round long cylindrical shape given to a piece of cane is made which forms the handle. This handle is pushed into the V-shaped notch created. Here an adhesive is used to bond the two pieces together.
A linen thread is used to secure the junction when the handle is secured to the blade. Mounted on a machine, the bat undergoes fast revolution with the thread being secured over it using the adhesive. This machine is controlled using a foot treadle. This thread is fixed all over the blade and handles junction up to the end of the handle. Once down, it is left to dry again.
Step 7: Polishing
After complete air drying, the bat is finely shined using compound wax after complete air drying. The compound wax gives the wood a fine finish and glossy appearance. Traditionally, a cricket bat is oiled using crude linseed oil before any game and over the seasons generally. This is done to protect the wood from any moisture absorption from the environment, which can cause the bat to twist. The wood is effectively protected by applying oil before the game and regularly during the season. It becomes less susceptible to environmental moisture changes that may result in twisting or cracking.
Step 8: Labeling
Branding comes into play now. You often see cricketers' bats with logos imprinted. These are done in the labelling section. Different brands' stickers are stuck on the blade.
Step 9: Gripping
Now the blade handle is covered with a rubber band. This will provide a better grip to the player and help in shock absorption, preventing any injuries caused by shock to the wrist.
Step 10: Wrapping
Here the cricket bat is put into a machine that wraps it in a transparent sheet. Your cricket bat is ready to knock on. Now that you know how a cricket bat is made, let's talk about cricket bat-making tools.
What Are the Cricket Bat-Making Tools Required in Manufacturing a Cricket Bat?
To make a quality cricket bat, a few tools are required.
These are as follows:
1. Pod Shaver
The pod shaver is a traditional staple tool required for producing a bat. British Steel is considered a good quality draw knife or pod shaver.
2. Shaping Plane
It’s a wooden box plane with a rounded base and blade. The tool is used to make concave-shaped backs of the bat, which are very popular in modern bats.
3. Smoothing Plane
This tool is used for shaping the edges of the bat.
4. Glue Knife
The glue knife is used for glueing and repairing old and damaged bats.
5. Standing Gloves
Hand sanding comes in the final stages of bat finishing. The sand particles, which are vital to finishing the bat, may prove to be very hard and damaging to the skin.
Hence, sanding gloves are used to give the bat the finishing touch.
6. Rubber Grip
A rubber grip is the last task in the procedure of preparing a bat. Once the bat is made, a rubber grip is put on the bat handle, which allows the batsmen to hold the bat more efficiently.
Cricket bat manufacturing involves time, workforce and a few machinery investments. And the results depend on the wood quality, the machinery involved and the skilled labour work involved. Indian cricket bats are famous worldwide. The Indian market in itself is large enough to cater to its demand. Indians, with a large proportion of adults, provide a vast customer base for this market.
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