When the leather ball strikes on the cricket bat, the sound delights a cricket lover. The sound is the result of leather hitting the willow (the wood used in making cricket bats). But, now researchers from the University of Cambridge have tested Bamboo bats which can bring a paradigm shift in modern cricket.
International standards bats are made of willow wood, especially with English Willow (sapwood of Salix Alba). Kashmir willow is also used in making international standard bats, but it is not preferred over English willow.
Bamboo Bats: Potential game-changers
Dr. Darshil Shah and Ben Tinkler-Davies of the University of Cambridge have compared the performance of a traditional Willow bat with a bamboo bat.
The study has found that the bamboo bat is significantly strong in comparison to the willow bat, meaning, the bamboo bat can be made thinner while remaining strong as the traditional bat. This will enable players to swing the bat with a higher speed, resulting in more transfer of energy while hitting a ball.
The study included computer modeling, video capture technology, compression testing, microscopic analysis, measuring how knocking-in improved surface hardness, and testing for vibrations.
Sustainability of bamboo bat
Cricket is a sport in which you are close to nature, you spend a lot of time in the field. And if the bamboo bats are the future, it will bring the game close to the environment. Cutting trees is by no means correct, but here the advantages of bamboo over willow are immense, so it’s a viable solution.
To put things into perceptive, there is a shortage of good quality willow, as the wood takes 15 years to mature. And almost 30% of willow wood is wasted in the process of making a cricket bat.
Whereas, The first of its kind bamboo bat is made out of Moso bamboo and Buadua Bamboo, the two suitable types of structural bamboo. The bamboo is grown in abundance in regions of Southeast Asia and South America. These bamboo plants mature twice as fast as willow and less wastage of raw material is there.
Andre Russell’s Black shining willow was banned
In the 2016-2017 big bash league, West Indies player, Andre Russell came out with a black willow bat (the bat was painted black). The bat was banned as players complained that it is leaving black patches on the leather ball. The patches affected the visibility of the ball. Hence, Russell was not allowed to use the bat in the future.
Willow is in practice for a long time
Several materials have been tested for the bat, yet the best is still the Willow wood, which is accepted across the cricketing fraternity. In the 19th century, makers of cricket bats experimented with different types of wood. But from the 1890s, the makers settled on the sapwood of Salix Alba (Willow).
The future of the bamboo bat is uncertain but it has the potential to start a new inning in modern cricket.