04.How we tested
We looked at junior cricket bats priced up to $200, suitable for kids around the age of 12. We looked for bats around two price points, $50 and $150, so as to get a good range, from budget backyard bats to serious competition bats.
Kids of this age will generally use a Harrow, which is the largest junior size of cricket bat. We couldn’t find a Harrow size for some bats, so for these we chose a size six, which is a fraction smaller than a Harrow and would still be suitable for many 12 year olds.
But when you're selecting a bat for yourself or your youngster, age isn't the determining factor. Choose a bat to suit the player’s height and strength and the type of cricket they’re playing. See How to choose a bat .
Five experts separately examined each bat and scored it for the following aspects, with regard to use by a typical 12 year old player.
- Comfort and ease of use: this included aspects such as weight, balance and the thickness and grip of the handle.
- Playability: this covers the hitting power of the bat and the size of its sweet spot (the area on the front face that gives maximum hitting power). The experts assessed this by testing the bat’s surface with a bat mallet and/or a hard leather cricket ball.
- Construction: the design, shape and quality of manufacture.
- The sort of player and style of game the bat is suited to: backyard, soft ball or hard ball competition.
- Having assessed the above qualities, the experts gave each bat an overall score.
- After scoring the bat, the experts were told its price and then rated it for value for money.
This may be the first independent test of a wide range of junior cricket bats ever done in Australia.
Our expert reviewers
Michael Slater: “Slats” was one of Australia’s top-order Test batsmen for nearly 10 years, scoring over 5000 Test runs at an average of 42.83. He retired from playing professional cricket in 2004. When playing, he was sponsored by Gray-Nicolls.
Lisa Sthalekar: Lisa has played for NSW since 1998 and for Australia since 2001. She’s currently captain of the NSW Breakers and vice-captain of the Australian Women’s cricket team, the Southern Stars. She’s sponsored by Gray-Nicolls.
Julian Millichamp: Julian is one of the most highly regarded bat makers in the industry and runs his own bat making company, Screaming Cat. He’s handcrafted bats for many of the game’s top players.
Dean Magee: Dean is the cricket manager at Kingsgrove Sports Centre in Sydney, one of the largest specialist cricket stores in Australia. He also plays first grade cricket and is personally sponsored by Gray-Nicolls.
David Mason: David is the secretary and coach of the Marrickville RSL Junior Cricket Club.
All first-class cricket players, and even many grade players, have sponsorship deals with bat makers. Although some of our experts have (or had) sponsorship or other commercial deals with some of the tested brands, they were impartial in their assessment of the bats. We didn't hide the brand labels on each bat during the trial, as that would require removing labels or covering much of the back, face and handle, which could affect the bat's performance.
This article last reviewed December 2006.