Bat Anatomy



Bow of the cricket bat

  • A blade of modern bat has varying degree of curves, usually known as bow of the bat. Selection of bat with different degree of bow is a personal choice, as each curve has its own advantages.
  • A bow of the blade helps in raising the center of gravity of the cricket bat. More pronounced the bow, higher will be the center of gravity of cricket bat. It is because of this fact that a cricket bat with pronounced bow with lower middle will feel the same as a flat cricket bat having higher middle.
  • A bow in the cricket bat assists in pick up and it also acts like a scoop which helps in producing more lofted (higher) shots, which however has a risk of being caught.
  • Cricket bats in Indian-subcontinent are typically seen with pronounced bow as it enables sweet spot to be lower on the blade, which is ideal for playing on slow and low pitches. In contrast, the bats in Australia and New Zealand are typically seen with slight bow which results in higher sweet spot, which is ideal for playing on fast and bouncy pitches.

Edge of the cricket bat

  • Modern bat has changed over a period of time especially when the edges of the bat are concerned. Earlier the edges of a cricket bat used to be about three-quarters of an inch, but these days various bats are available with edge thickness going to 2 inch and sometimes even 3 inch.
  • Thick edges increases the mass of the bat and makes it more evenly distributed. As the spread of wood gets more even with thicker edges, the profile of the swell changes and sweet spot gets distributed as compared to bats. When a batsman plays a mistimed shot and the ball hits the edges, thicker edges provide more wood behind the ball and thus more thrust as compared to thinner edges. Thick edge gives an added advantage to batsman wherein, even if the shot is missed by a margin and hits the edge, the ball still is hit with a force which might result in four or six at times. This is useful particularly towards the end of the innings where hard hitting is required and in short format matches.
  • Thicker edges also provides more durability as there are less chances for it to get damaged by a mistimed shot as compared to thinner edges. Having said that, bat with thicker edges are usually heavier as compared to thinner edged ones, thus affecting the pick-up of the bat.

Swell of the cricket bat

  • The swell of the bat also known as sweet spot or middle of the bat, is the area where a batsman would usually want to make a contact with ball. As more wood is behind the blade at the sweet spot, more impact it will have on ball when hit. The two important characteristics of swell that have significant importance are its position and depth.
  • A smartly selected bat will be the one which will have swell position suited to the kind of shots that a batsman usually plays. Following table shows what position of swell can be in favour of particular kind of batting style,
Swell Position
from the toe

3" to 11"4" to 12"5" to 13"
Batting StyleSuits a batsman
who enjoys driving a ball
and playing aggressively
towards the end of the game
Suits a batsman who plays
full range of shots and does
not favour any particular
type of shots
Suits a batsman who opens
or likes playing against
short-pitched bowling
and is more inclined to
plays shots such as pulls,
hooks and cuts
PitchSuited to wicket
having low bounce
Suited to wicket
having normal bounce
Suited to wicket
having high bounce
  • Cricket bats having swell position closer to the toe affects the pick-up of the bat as more mass will be towards the lower part of the blade. Thus, bats with lower swell position usually have slower pick-ups as compared to those having swell position high up on the blade.
  • The thickness of the swell can be different leading to varying impact a sweet spot can have on a ball. A bat with deeper or thicker swell has more wood behind the sweet spot, thus showing better rebounding qualities and more force transferred to ball on hitting as compared to thinner swells. Moreover, a deeper swell provides larger sweet are on the blade but it also affects the pick-up of the bat.

Back profile of the cricket bat

  • The profile of the back of the blade is significant in getting the right pick-up and balance. Spine of the bat is the line in the center of the bat running down from the shoulders of the blade to its toe. Profiles of back of the bat are designed by scooping out wood on either side of the spine. More the wood is taken out of the bat, more the profile becomes concaved shape and makes the spine sharper.
  • Modern bats usually have more concaved shaped profile as compared to classic bats, which helps reducing the weight of the bat and at the same time maintaining the depth of the swell and thickness of the edges.
  • Cricket bats which have more concave profiles have less wood towards the edges. This makes the bat more prone to turn when a ball hits the bat towards the edges and not in the center, as less wood is behind the ball. Hence, some amount of energy is lost in the turning motion and full power is not transferred to the ball.

Handle of the cricket bat

  • Handle of the cricket bat is susceptible to an incredible amount of strain because of the way the ball is usually played. The section just above the shoulder of the bad is probably the weakest point of the handle and it can break very easily if ball hits very hard at the very base of the bat i.e. toe of the bat.
  • It is usually recommended that senior cricket bats with long handle must be chosen for batsman having height above 6 foot 2 inch and for the remaining it must be short handle. Having said that, it is not necessary to stick to this norm, as it is pretty much an individual’s decision. Junior size bats are available with different sizes which usually carry “Harrow” size handle so that those not comfortable with short handles can make a smooth transition.