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Best cricket bats 2021: Our lowdown of the best willow for power and finesse

Pete Clark
11 Oct 2021
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Emulate the likes of Ben Stokes and Joe Root with the best cricket bats available for every budget

Domestic cricket in England may be over for 2021 but the off-season is a great time to invest in one of the best cricket bats available.

Retailers often slash prices on older stock and you'll have plenty of time to acclimatise yourself to your new blade in the nets over the winter. So, if you need to buy a new cricket bat, there's no time like the present.

But with so many bat makers vying for your attention and offering numerous ranges that vary significantly in price, picking the right willow isn't an easy task.

Fortunately, we're here to help. We've compiled this handy round-up of the best cricket bats to help you select the right cricket bat from the hundreds of options available, along with a buying guide detailing all the things to consider before making a purchase.

Whether you’re a Boycott-esque blocker or a blistering Buttler, we’ve got you covered.

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Best cricket bats: At a glance


How to buy the best cricket bat for you

What type of bat should I buy?

This all depends on what sort of player you are. You may not be happy to hear this, but getting your hands on the very best cricket bat money can buy won’t transform you into Sachin Tendulkar overnight. What’s important is to buy one that suits your own style and plays to your strengths.

For instance, if you like to play the ball along the floor, you’re going to need a weightier bat with a lower middle. Conversely, those that like to play more expansive shots will want a lighter bat, with a higher sweet spot and thicker edges. Naturally, there are also bats on the market that bridge the gap between these two extremes and will suit players with a more rounded style.

How much should I spend?

Again, this depends on what type of bat you’re after. As a general rule for part-time players we would recommend a lower limit of around £60, and an upper limit of £400. If you dream of emulating the likes of Root and Kohli, you can certainly find bats for more than this but, for the most part, models that go for between £100-£200 should do the job just fine.

What size is right for me?

For the vast majority of senior players, or those who are between 5ft 8in and 6ft 3in tall, a Short Handle (33.5in x 4.25in) bat fits the bill.

For the amazonian amongst us, Long Handles (34.375in x 4.25in) can be bought from some retailers, although these may have to be ordered specifically in advance since many retailers don’t keep Long Handles in stock.

For junior cricketers, a much wider range of bat sizes is available. From size 1 right up to size 6, followed by ‘Harrow’ (32.75in x 4.16in) – the latter generally aimed at those between 14-18 years of age. For a full lowdown, check out Talent Cricket’s in-depth cricket bat size guide right here.

What else do I need to consider?

As long as you’ve purchased a bat that suits your style and is the right size for you, then there’s not much else you need to worry about. You can buy all manner of different grips from your local sportswear shop for not very much money, but as long as you replace these at least one or two times per season, there’s not much to choose between them in the long run.

One thing that is vitally important, however, is to make sure that you properly prepare your bat before using it in matches. Linseed oil and a knocking-in mallet are essential purchases to help achieve this – not only are you going to want an effective piece of willow but, at today’s prices, one that will last you a long time. Last but not least, taking time to choose pads and gloves that fit you snugly is also more than worth it.

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The best cricket bats to buy in 2021

1. Newbery AXE: The best cricket bat for top-hand control

Price: £273 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket

This unique piece of willow features a handle modelled on that of an axe to enable free-swinging and improved control of shots. The handle is thicker where you grip it with your bottom hand, while the top-hand section tapers in, making it easier to skillfully guide the ball around the ground. The AXE’s duckbill profile gives it a thicker-than-average toe but makes it lightweight on the pickup, which is ideal for slow and low wickets and those who prefer to play off the front foot.

Key specs – Sizes available: SH; Weight (SH): 2lb 6oz - 2lb 9oz; Grade: Grade 1-4; Sweet spot: Mid-blade

Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket


2. Gunn & Moore Diamond: The best cricket bat under £150

Price: £132 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket

It's not easy finding a decent bat from a reputable manufacturer for under £150 but the G&M Diamond is exactly that. Industry heavyweights Gunn & Moore have been a mainstay in kit bags worldwide since 1936 and this particular blade was crafted with Ben Stokes' unique brand of attacking cricket in mind.

It possesses a mid swell designed for strokeplay and that, combined with a traditional, full blade profile, gives your margin for error if you don't quite find the middle. Throw in GM's ToeTek toe protection and a treble spring cane handle and you've got yourself a great bat for a very reasonable price.

Key specs – Sizes available: SH; Weight (SH): 2lb 6oz - 2lb 12oz; Grade: Seasoned unbleached Grade 2 English willow; Sweet spot: Dynamic

Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket


3. New Balance TC 1260: The England Test captain's choice

Price: £450 | Buy now from Sports Direct

Yes, the TC 1260 is expensive, but you’re really getting what you pay for here. It's designed with batsmen that like to build an innings through sensible shot selection in mind and features large edges to provide power if you don't quite find the hefty sweet spot. It has a mid-bat swell and comes with a guard pre-installed on the toe to protect it from damage, while the handle is semi-oval in shape to enable a firm, yet comfortable grip. It's the bat of choice of England Test captain Joe Root and if it's good enough for him, then it’s good enough for us.

Key specs – Sizes available: SH; Weight (SH): 2lb 6oz - 2lb 9oz; Grade: Grade 1 English willow; Sweet spot: Mid-blade

Buy now from Sports Direct


4. Adidas XT 6.0 KW: An affordable cricket bat for juniors

Price: £38 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket

If your child is just getting into cricket, chances are you won’t want to splash out on a pricey bat, making this affordable option from Adidas a solid pick. You may also find your kid is more willing to pick up a bat made by Adidas - a manufacturer they would have heard of - rather than a cricket-specific maker.

The blade is slightly concave to aid a smooth pickup, which is crucial when you’re learning the game, while the handle is semi-oval shaped for improved control. Available in sizes 2 to Harrow, the XT 6.0 KW comes with both a face and toe guard - essential inclusions for bats used by youngsters.

Key specs – Sizes available: 2-H; Weight: Not stated; Grade: Kashmir willow; Sweet spot: Mid-blade

Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket


5. Kookaburra Kahuna 2.0: Endorsed by one of England's biggest hitters

Price: £300 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket

The Kookaburra Kahuna series was originally developed in collaboration with former Australia captain Ricky Pointing but is now endorsed by England's supreme power hitter, Jos Buttler. Minimal scalloping gives the bat a full profile perfect for stroke-making, while the pickup is very light. The graphics on the bat have received a revamp for 2021, too, and are now squarer and more emphatic

Key specs – Sizes available: SH Weight (SH): 2lb 8oz - 2lb 10oz Grade: Grade 2 unbleached English willow Sweet spot: Mid-blad

Buy now from Pro:Direct Cricket


6. Millichamp & Hall The Original: A beautifully crafted cricket bat

Price: £550 | Buy now from Millichamp & Hall

If you’re a cricket purist, then Millichamp & Hall won't be an unfamiliar name to you. Founded in 1987, master batmaker M&H has been crafting some of the finest willow money can buy at its County Ground, Taunton home for over 30 years now. The Original is its most recognisable creation and made entirely from English willow. It's not particularly widely used by the pros but you'll often see it being wielded by Somerset players, including England spinner and blocking extraordinaire Jack Leach.

The M&H Original has a beautifully weighted pickup and a meaty sweet spot: there are few better feelings than middling one with this bat. But perhaps its true standout feature is its design. With a white grip, green stripes and old-school red font, the M&H Original is minimalistic, understated, yet extremely elegant.

Key specs – Sizes available: SH; Weight (SH): 2lb 8oz - 3oz; Grade: MK 1 Pro-grade English willow; Sweet spot: High

Buy now from Millichamp & Hall


7. MRF Chase Master: The best cricket bat if money were no object

Price: £650 | Buy now from Cricket Direct

It’s nothing but the best for this offering from Indian cricket giant MRF. The Chase Master is crafted from top of the range English willow, and the highest-end model, listed above, is on a par with bats used by world-class players such as Indian megastar Virat Kohli.

Being from the subcontinent, MRF traditionally produces bats with a significant bow, to enable players to swat away spin on dusty tracks with consummate ease. The Chase Master is different, however, in that it features big edges and shoulders, alongside a square toe to help lower the bat’s centre of gravity and give power when driving. As a result, it’s just as suitable in English conditions as it is in south Asia. If you want the best bat money can buy, look no further than the MRF Chase Master.

Key specs – Sizes available: SH; Weight (SH): 2lb 9oz - 2lb 12oz; Grade: Grade 1 English willow; Sweet spot: Mid-blade

Buy now from Cricket Direct