After the success of our kids tennis racket size guide we’ve been asked for some help with another non-football sport – cricket.
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How to pick the right tennis racket size for kids
If your kids are more interested in Sachin Tendulkar than Sasha Banks, more Moeen Ali than Mo Salah, prefer off-stump to offside – then you’ll be familiar with the, often exorbitant, cost of cricket kit.
From cricket whites, to pads, helmet, shoes, balls and of course cricket bats.
And with prices for junior bats ranging from less than £20 to way north of £200 what are you looking for in a junior cricket bat? What do you get for the 10x price tag? And is it worth it?
Some bats we like
Why the right size junior cricket bat is important
If your kids, like ours, grow at a rate of knots you may think: “Can’t I just buy them one that’s a bit too big – and they’ll grow into it? Like that jumper Granny knitted for them?”
The wrong sized bat can really affect a young cricketer’s game.
Too big/long/heavy and it will be difficult to wield, they won’t be able to develop their technique correctly and will struggle to ‘middle’ the ball, out of the sweet spot of the bat – for that satisfying ‘thock’ as they hold the pose and watch the ball race to the boundary rope.
Too small/short/light and it can affect their stance, seeing them hunch over a bat that’s too small, throwing off their balance and positioning, as well as decreasing the power and control they should be able to execute as their skill level increases.
This video, from the team at Kookaburra Cricket is a useful guide too:
How many kids cricket bat sizes are there?
Short answer: a lot. Probably more than you expect – there are nine in total.
Cricket bat size guide chart
|BAT SIZE||Approximate Age||Batter’s Height||Bat Length||Bat Width|
|1||4-5 years old||Up to 4ft 3 inches
|25¼ inches||3½ inches|
|2||6-7 years old||4ft 3 inches – 4ft 6 inches
|27¾ inches||3½ inches|
|3||8-9 years old||4ft 6 inches – 4ft 9 inches
|28¾ inches||3¾ inches|
|4||9-10 years old||4ft 9 inches – 4ft 11 inches
|29¾ inches||3¾ inches|
|5||10-11 years old||4ft 11 inches – 5ft 2 inches
|30¾ inches||4 inches|
|6||11-13 years old||5ft 2 inches – 5ft 5 inches
|31¾ inches||4 inches|
|Harrow||12-14 years old||5ft 5 inches – 5ft 8 inches
|32¾ inches||4⅔ inches|
|Full Size (Short Handle)||15+ years old||5ft 8″ – 6ft 3″
|33½ inches||4¼ inches|
|Full Size (Long Handle)||15+ years old||6ft 3″ +
|34⅜ inches||4¼ inches|
The sizes go from 1 being the smallest, up to size 6 as a child approaches 5’5″ or so. Then they’re nearing full size bats, with the ‘Harrow’ sized bats the bridge between children’s cricket bats and adult bats.
The important number in the chart above is the height of the child. Whilst we’ve added approximate ages they’re just there as a guide – we’ve all seen children knocking on 6ft tall by the time they reach teenage years and more diminutive players too.
It’s worth remembering ‘The Little Master’, Tendulkar, is just 5’4″, West Indies wonder Brian Lara 5’6″ and that didn’t seem to do their cricketing careers much harm!
So choose a bat based around the height of your child, not their age.
How to measure your child for a cricket bat
If you don’t have a handy size guide or you’re out an about shopping for bats and want a good guide to the right size:
- Get your child to lean the bat against their leg, as upright as they can
- Let their arm hang loosely by their side
- The top of the handle of the bat should reach their wrist.
Not the tips of their fingers (no matter how much they want that ‘super cool’ bat), nor their forearm (no matter how much you don’t want to splash out on another new bat!).
How to choose the right weight cricket bat
Another handy test which you can do in the shop is to test for the correct weight of bat.
Some kids will be desperate for a heavier bat, assuming it will allow them to hit the ball harder and further – but it won’t. Not if they cannot control it. To test the weight, get your child to:
- Hold the bat in their ‘top’ batting hand (usually the left hand if they’re right handed)
- Hold the bat out – one handed – at arm’s length with the tip of the bat in the air
- They should be able to control the bat (e.g. stop it waving around).
If they can’t the bat is too heavy for them, they won’t be able to control it properly and both their technique and power will suffer. Look for a lighter bat.
Similarly, if they can wave it around like a toothpick try some heavier bats to see if they can handle a heavier blade.
(Thanks to those Kookaburra Cricket chaps for this one)
Unlike bat length you don’t need to pursue the ‘correct’ weight for a new bat – this can be personal preference. Some players prefer a lighter bat, to increase bat speed and their reaction times; other prefer a heavier piece of willow to increase power and control.
What are cricket bat grades?
You may get confused between cricket bat sizes and bat grades.
It’s not as confusing as it may seem and – certainly for most junior players – you can ignore anything about Grades.
Bats are made, usually, from willow. The Grade refers to this – the quality of the wood. Broadly, Grade 1 is the most expensive and Grade 4 the least.
This is almost entirely cosmetic (though some players will, of course, swear by their Grade 1 bat – entirely unaffected by the fact it was twice the price of a Grade 3 of course!).
- Grade 1 – is the finest willow, the cleft will be unblemished with tight, straight grains visible in the wood. There may be a few small knots in the wood, on back or on the edge, but the face of the bat should be clean. Usually the grain on the face of the bat will be very straight with four or more grains visible.
- Grade 2 – The next Grade down is still good quality with straight grain lines but may have a few more blemishes n the wood or grains. If you’re paying for Grade 2 there should be at least four straight grains on the playing surface of the bat with few minor blemishes and/or tiny knots visible.
- Grade 3 – Usually the most popular Grade as it’s good value for money. Many Grade 3 bats will be bleached (to make them appear more like Grade 1 or 2!). There will still be at least four grain lines on the playing surface of the bat thought they may not be perfectly straight. Expect a few more blemishes, stains in the wood or knots.
- Grade 4 – A Grade 4 blade is almost always bleached to make it look better. Any number of grains is possible and, visually, more knots, speckles and blemishes will be visible.
In our experience the Grade of wood in a bat, certainly in a youngster’s bat, makes zero difference to how a bat plays or feels – it’s entirely cosmetic.
That’s not to say it’s not important. Confidence is crucial in any sport so, if you can afford it, by all means spend a little more for that bat that really looks the part – but don’t fall to peer/pester pressure or claims that a Grade 3 bat is woefully inferior.
Thumping a few sixes out of it will soon remedy any such concerns!
What is a ‘cleft’ in cricket?
On a related topic you may hear some bat buying jargon. One of those words which keeps cropping up is a ‘cleft’.
What is a cricket bat cleft?
In short, it’s a piece of wood.
As a willow tree is cut down (after anything from 10 to 25 years of growing – depending on climate and growing conditions) to be made into cricket bats the wood is sectioned up – in larger chunks for transporting and then into progressively smaller pieces until the bat makers are ready to work their magic.
When the wood is cut down to it’s approximate ‘cricket bat shape’, in the trade it’s known as a cleft.
In India and Pakistan many cricketers (and fans) will refer to the playing surface of the bat as the cleft. In England, Australia and most other cricket-playing nations it’s called the blade.
They’re the same thing – blade, cleft, bat… it’s all branches of the same tree – often literally!
Other Cricket Kit you May need
Some bat buying myths
A few things you may hear from your budding batsman, batswoman or batter:
- The thicker/wider of the edges the better X
- The more ‘grain lines’ in the wood the better X
- The brand name/sponsor/celebrity endorsement is vital. X
None of those are true. Much like many things, cricket bats are influenced by fashion. One star cricketer has success with a certain type of bat and everyone rushes to copy that bat type.
A ‘good’ bat is far more closely correlated to what feels right for that player. The right size, weight and length will have far more impact on your junior cricket star than the face of the famous cricketer stuck on the packaging.
Last update on 2021-06-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API