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The Evolution of the Cricket Bat
By clementfaria   Published: November 10, 2009   Print    Email
The stakes available in cricket have risen significantly over recent years - especially with the inception of the Indian Premier League and the Stanford Super Series - and as such the equipment used is completely different from what was used in the early forms of the game.

From early times, when the ball was bowled underarm along the ground, cricket bats more closely resembled hockey sticks than what popular players like Rahul Dravid use these days.

The transition to the more rectangular shape used today began in the 1770s when bowlers were allowed to 'loop' the ball to batsmen. This dramatically changed the de rigueur batting style as people started to make vertical movements with their bats rather than horizontal sweeps as before. These bats, however, were still very bottom-heavy and looked more like flat caveman clubs than bats. When overarm bowling was allowed in the 1820s bats started to take on the more modern look.

The most recent development has been the conversion from a flat bat to one with a bowed blade. Although bowed bats have been around for roughly 40 years, it has only been in recent years that the big manufacturers have taken to shaping their bats in this way.

One thing that has remained constant through the history of the bat is the material they are made from, although this didn't make it into the laws of the game until the recent decades.

One of the most highly publicised incidents involving a cricket bat came during the 1979 Ashes. During a test at the WACA, Dennis Lillee came on to the field with an aluminium bat and hit the first delivery of the day for three runs. This action ended up angering the captains of both teams. Lillee's captain, Greg Chappell, reckoned the shot should've gone for four and instructed the twelfth man to take out a conventional bat to Lillee while England's captain, Mike Brearley complained that the aluminium bat was damaging the ball. After a long and heated conversation involving umpires and players, Lillee threw away his aluminium bat in disgust and continued to play with a wooden one. Lillee had used the same bat 12 days earlier in a test against the West Indies without incident.

The aluminium bat was manufactured by a company run by Lillee's friend initially as a way to produce cheap bats for developing countries. After the match, sales went through the roof until a few months later the laws of cricket were changed to say that a bat must be made of wood. You can be sure that when the npower Ashes come round in the summer of 2009 that all the players will be using the most up-to-date bats in order to get the biggest advantage available.

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Hide Comments (5)

Didit - October 13, 2012
from cricinfo live coenmmtaryAvanti has a fact-trivia for us: The first testicular guard was used in cricket in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important! The species has to continue even if produces mad people. I think the priority is perfectly fine!

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Yara - November 29, 2015
I bought the large bat paettrn for my mom, who has made a very feminine pastel bat with pink wings and a little fuzzy grey bat, but I agree with the other people, we would LOVE teeny tiny bats, this guy is so cute please put him in the next tiny collection!

Marina - November 30, 2015
It is great to see that you, in spite of being an American with little <a href="">exuopsre</a> to the game, are trying to popularize the sport you have come to love.There have been several reasons why cricket never developed a big following in the USA. Most think that Americans stopped playing cricket altogether after independence from Britain, as cricket was seen as a British sport. This is not true. Cricket remained a popular sport in the US throughout the 19th century, especially in the Northeast.The formation of the ICC (IMPERIAL Cricket Council) in 1909 was the real blow to the development of the game in the States, since it restricted membership to the Commonwealth countries only (i.e. present British colonies and Dominions). It is notable that cricket did not die out altogether in the US, and when the ICC was reincarnated International Cricket Council in 1965, the USA was one of the first nations to join. However, by this time, American football, baseball, basketball, auto-racing (e.g. Indy and NASCAR), tennis, golf and athletics had all surpassed cricket as a sport of choice for talented American athletes.Cricket suffers from a low profile to this day because of the following problems:1) Lack of media <a href="">exuopsre</a>.2) Lack of opportunities to play cricket in schools and colleges.3) Immigrant communities and exclusion of Americans from the cricket culture.1) The first major hurdle you would have to overcome is the lack of media <a href="">exuopsre</a>. Cricket is not broadcast by ESPN or any other sports network, or any of the terrestrial networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS or FOX). Pay-per-view subscription to cricket tournaments are exorbitant; in 2007, the four Test series between England and West Indies (where apart from Chanderpaul the WI team was in shambles, leading to little spectator interest in the series anywhere in the world) was offered on DISH TV for $ 84.50. I am assuming that if spectator interest is anything to go by, India vs Pakistan series and Ashes series will sell for over $ 150. Such large sums of money are not affordable for most immigrants, and there is little reason why Americans would buy a PPV package at such high cost purely for the curiosity of seeing how cricket is played. Although channels like Zee Sports broadcast some cricket in the US, other than Indian subcontinental immigrants few even know it exists, and overseas network packages are often quite expensive as well.2) Cricket is not played in schools in most of America. Recently, the New York City public school system started a league for schools, which is a step in the right direction but still a drop in the ocean. The reason why soccer has managed to attain some following in the States is because it is one of the most played youth sports, as well as the fact that soccer does have some media <a href="">exuopsre</a> on ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel and Gol TV, largely meant to cater to the Hispanic community. Cricket has no media outlet and no organized structure in the schools. Colleges with a lot of Indian subcontinental/West Indian students have cricket clubs, but are not the most effective way to popularize cricket. (It is difficult to manage studies and more than one extracurricular interest in college, and non-Asian American students are unlikely to join cricket clubs over other clubs/organizations of interest to them.)3) Although there are thriving adult cricket leagues in cities like New York, San Francisco and Portland, most of the teams identify with an ethnic affiliation or national origin. For example, the Commonwealth Cricket League in NYC has teams such as Bangladesh Abahani, BD Crushers, Paki Pride, Punjabi Tigers and Indian XI. Although they will most likely accept players from any ethnicity, there may be a sense of the clubs existing to provide a community organization for immigrants from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Guyana/Trinida Tobago etc., and it is likely that other Americans will find the clubs a little clique-y. The lack of access to clubs for people like you is another reason why cricket does not become a mainstream sport in the US.In order to spread the gospel of cricket, you will need to ensure:1) Much improved media <a href="">exuopsre</a> of cricket (in newspapers, on radio and TV). However, this is likely to fail because of commercial inviability; such media would initially have to be targeted towards immigrants from cricket playing nations, and barring any British or Australian immigrants, they are unlikely to have sufficient purchasing power for such media outlets to be popular with sponsors.2) Organize cricket in schools. This is difficult because of the need for extensive facilities (pitches, large grounds, nets, equipment, protective gear etc). Most children in the US attend public schools. Most public school funding is raised from local taxation, so you will have to convince a lot of taxpayers with children in school that cricket is a sport that will benefit their children more than American football, basketball, baseball and so on.3) More clubs are needed, and easy access to non-immigrant players needs to be ensured. Someone like you could start a club and invite your friends to join, but fundraising and attaining a minimum standard of play needed for existing clubs to want to play you will be issues. So, as you can see, there are no easy solutions. Someone with great entrepreneurial skills will have to sell the game to the American public before increased media <a href="">exuopsre</a>, inclusion in school sports programs and an increase in the number of clubs can be brought about. I wish you best of luck with your endeavors.

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