Adidas Cricket Shoes 2016

The 2016 Adidas cricket footwear range has so far been our best selling range this year. Worn by so many international players from all corners of the globe, the distinctive red and blue colour scheme is one of the most recognisable sights on our TV screens at the moment.

It’s not just about good looks though. The boots have been designed to offer comfort, support and performance.

The entry level Howzat model is a lightweight shoe that uses the same hi-tech sole plate of its bigger brother that sells for twice the price. The shoe is surprisingly light, well cushioned, offers great comfort to the all-round cricketer for less than £50.

This model is also available to junior cricketers from size one upwards and again although a late addition to the VKS range, the response has been excellent and we are repeating orders with Adidas on a weekly basis.

The SL22 model is my personal favourite and the what my own son wears, as can be seen below :

Now this is one of the best looking shoes on the market, in my opinion. The honeycomb design with its mesh inserts really makes this shoe stand out in terms of looks, but this style feature also gives the SL22 a really soft and supple feel. At less than £65, the SL22’s are great shoes and certainly my pick for 2016.

Going up the scale again Adidas have the Vector and and Vector Mid models which sell for around the £90 mark. Most distinctive about these two models is the two tone blue and red colour way that can be seen on TV screens as they are used so so many pro players. As one of the most widely used shows amongst today’s pro’s this really is an excellent shoe, that uses all of Adidas’s know how and expertise in making performance footwear.

Finally at the top end of the scale is the Boost model that uses the same foam sole design as the top Adidas running shoes, along with a traction sole system with an array of plastic studs. The result is a lightweight shoe that gives incredible bounce on the field, along with excellent grip when batting as well fielding.

Overall the Adidas cricket footwear range is a well thought out range, catering to all times players within all budget ranges. The fact that they also seem to be the preferred choice for most of today’s international players goes to show just how good they are.

Shrey Cricket Helmets

Shrey cricket helmets came onto the scene just a few years ago and have quickly become one of the most recognisable brands amongst the worlds top international players.

Originally trading as a manufacturing unit for one of the worlds best selling cricket helmet brands, Shrey cricket helmets have since established themselves as an own brand manufacturer with the added bonus of producing their own product and therefore having full control over styling, quality and efficient distribution.

Although used by the world’s best, Shrey have planned their marketing and range really well and as a result cater to all price points.

They start off with the Armor range where a junior helmet costs less than £40 and then go all the way up to the Masterclass Air Titanium which includes a neck guard for free.

All the helmets in the Shrey range conform to the latest BS 2013 safety standards. This standard is now being forced to a greater degree by the cricketing hierarchy in the UK, so as to try and ensure the safety of both junior and senior players in the game.

The added safety features of all helmets that conform to the standards insures a stronger Peak area, better quality Grills then were previously made on helmets, as well as the fixed grill position which insures the ball cannot breach the gap between the grill and helmet peak.

The Shrey range of helmets are known for their lightweight and sleek designs and with the added models that have been introduced for the new season, the lower price points are certainly going to appeal to a wider range of cricketers.

For details on the Shrey helmets can be found at the old

How to choose cricket equipment

We have written various blogs recently about choosing different pieces of cricket equipment, from batting legguards to footwear to cricket bats and batting gloves. All of those blogs hopefully have given some sort of an insight into buying cricket equipment in slightly more detail. Here however we would like to give you an overview of what to do when buying cricket equipment and hopefully this will make your life a little bit easier.

When buying for children, it’s good to take into account whether they are just starting out or have been playing for a while and are therefore well and truly into playing the game. After all we understand you don’t want to be spending lots of money if they are likely to give up after a very short while.

If they’re just starting out,  you’ll need the basic essentials of a cricket bat, batting leg guards, batting gloves, an abdo guard, cricket helmet and perhaps some shoes. These are the basic essentials that any kid will have and can be complimented by a good cricket bag to keep all the equipment safe. Details of exactly how much to spend on each piece of equipment and the different types can be found in all the blogs.

For the player that’s into it a little bit more, you can consider a set of all in one thigh and inner thigh guards, sometimes known as strippers, an arm guard, chest guard and a good pair of cricket shoes complimented by some good quality cricket socks too.

For senior players all of the above would be needed although for senior players a good set of cricket spikes or rubbers is an absolute essential.

When selecting a kit it’s a good idea to know your overall budget and then allocate on gloves, legguards and the bat according to the importance to you. Investing in good quality kit will pay dividends to you in the long run as it will last longer and perform better too.

When buying gloves, do make every attempt to try them on and don’t just go on brand and looks alone. It takes a lot of know how to make a good glove comfortable and many gloves out there just don’t meet our comfort standards. Likewise the same should be done with batting legguards, we see far too many overpriced leg guards that use the cheapest materials and simply don’t offer the flexibility and comfort that the batsmen needs.

Latest cricket helmets offer top levels of protection and the brands to consider are Gray-Nicolls, GM, Kookaburra as well as top quality brands such as Masuri and Shrey.

In terms of spikes, please refer to our blog on cricket footwear but to give you a quick insight here, the likes of Adidas and Asics make the top level shoes and a complimented by well price models from Kookaburra, GM and Gray Nicolls.

Again with other piece of kit like bags, you can have a look at our blog. Thus overall when buying it, it’s not always necessary to go crazy and spend lots of money. Do try and going to a reputable store that is known to carry a wide range and large stocks.

That way you get a great chance to see a display of items and try them out at your leisure, to ensure you get what you want and not what shop wants to sell you.

How to choose batting pads

Selecting a good pair of batting pads is an important decision, primarily because they tend to last longer than any other piece of kit and therefore will be with you for the longest period of time. Get it wrong and you could be looking at a mistake for many years.

First of all, batting pads will usually come in left and right handed models. An alternative to this would be an ambidextrous pair that can be worn by both right and left handed players. It shouldn’t be too complicated, as both the right and left and models as well as the ambidextrous models will offer you the correct amount of side bolster protection.

With regards to size, your knee should align with the centre part of the knee section to the back of the batting legguards.

In terms of adults sizes, there is the small men’s size which suits players around 5ft 5″ to  5ft 8″, we then have the men size which is suitable for players around 5ft 9″ to 6ft and then the large men’s size is for players taller than 6ft.

For juniors the sizes offered can vary from brand to brand. Some can classify them as Boys and Youths, whereas others have Junior and Junior Large.

In the VKS range we carry a large range of sizes starting from Ultra Mini for the youngest of players through to a new size we created called Large Boys. This Large Boys size is just smaller than the Youth/Small Men’s size and has been extremely popular as it bridges a gap in the size range.

In respect to the different styles and designs of batting Legguards, we could start by simplifying them into 3 categories, namely traditional, modern and moulded.

The traditional design pads are the ones which have the 7 to 8 slim bars running vertically down the front of the pad. Very often the front bars have cane inserts which add protection to the front of the pad. Those that don’t have the cane inserts will still offer top quality protection thanks to the high density foam inserts pleased within the bars and will also reduce the weight.

The modern design pad have large single section panels to the front and the side and are usually complimented by a few vertical bars which break up the design of the larger panels. These pads tend to be lightweight and flexible when worn.

The moulded design pads are similar to the ones one by Sachin Tendulkar. They are extremely lightweight but also rather rigid and not very flexible. They certainly don’t suit all batsmen and despite being used by some many popular mainstream players have never really taken off due to their limiting feel.

Getting the correct size of batting pads is very important, especially for junior players. A pad that is too large, will very often hinder a batsmens running and therefore severely restrict them when trying to take single runs between the wicket.

A lot of emphasis nowadays is being placed upon the weight of batting legguards. Whilst this may seem important, once they are on a few grams here and there is it really going to make too much of a difference. After all you must take into account you don’t really measure the weight of your trousers and socks and those two are been worn in the same way as your pads.

In terms of price, you can expect to pay anywhere from £25 for a junior pad up to over £100 for a senior model, with lots of different price points in between offering excellent quality and value for money.

We at the VKS have a large number of pads and catering to all price points and with some extremely light models too, possibly some of the lightest on the market.

How to choose cricket shoes

You’re going to spend hours on the field so ensuring you buy the correct cricket shoes, is one of the most important decisions you make as a cricketer.

Thankfully from a budget perspective, cricket is one of the sports where getting a good pair of shoes doesn’t actually cost that much. The likes of GM, Kookaburra and Gray-Nicolls have some excellent shoes starting from the £35 mark for seniors and £25 mark for juniors.

Then for those wanting to go up a notch, the likes of Adidas have shoes starting from around £50 and Asics likewise cater to a similar price point, going up to over the hundred pound mark for the top of the line models such as the Advance and Vector shoes.

So in terms of design, what are the options? Well for those playing indoors or fielding on fairly dry grounds there are the full rubber model shoes. These are also suited to those playing on Astroturf. Before other models of great comfort and good traction to thanks to the people design rubber soles and are very often the preferred choice for many batsmen.

Next we have the multi option models which allow you to have a full spike sole, a half spike sole or even a full rubber layout. By simply changing the stud layout to the sole you have a variety of different sole options within one shoe. So depending on the type of ground you’re playing on or whether you are batting, bowling or fielding you have it all within the one shoe.

Likewise for our junior players the same options are available, the rubber shoes as well as the multi option ones.

So now you know what’s available, the next question to ask is why is there such a price difference between those that are available for around £35 whereas others can cost in excess of £100 for what is in effect a cricket shoe.

The answer is that it’s all in the technology. Brands like Asics and Adidas have many years of experience in producing top quality performance sport shoes for some of the worlds best athletes and sportsmen and the same high-tech know how has gone into the production of their cricket shoes. Asics are known to make the finest running shoes in the world, the GT2000 and Kayano models are used by marathon runners as well as other top forming athletes.

As soon as you put on a pair of Asics cricket shoes, the difference you feel is immense and you soon realise why you’re being charged the extra pounds. The comfort levels as well as the stability you feel is second to none and after a long day on the field you ultimately, feeling more relaxed and less fatigued. Asics shoes are known for their gel technology which give a cushioned feel but with absolute stability so as to avoid foot roll and help in the prevention of injuries.

Likewise, the Adidas cricket you range is now one of the most widely seen brands on any international field, it’s what the top level players trust and demand when it comes to applying the tools of the trade.

Lower down the spectrum where we have brands like kookaburra, Gray Nicolls and GM their shoes offer supreme comfort and for the price are simply amazing.

The final choice is ultimately yours, but at least the choices and quality available start from a sensible price.

How to choose a cricket bag

So you’ve bought all your cricket equipment. You’ve spent hours pondering over the best bat, tried on the shoes that fit you the best, picked the gloves that well…fit like a glove, bought the batting pads that make you look like the ultimate batsmen and selected to the cricket whites that make you look like a test player, the question now is where do you keep it all.

The choice of cricket bags has never been greater with all the leading brand names introducing new models catering to junior players as well as senior players. We have bags starting from the £25 mark going up to well over £100 in the variety of sizes styles and colours.

So the question ultimately years, which one do you choose?

When looking at the traditional bag we always suggest opting for one with wheels as it adds stability to the bag and makes taking the kit to the ground and back so much easier and less of a cumbersome task. The thought process with regards to the wheel seems to have been taken up by most of the brands, as almost all the models come with wheels as standard.

With the junior bags we tend to find the bat will have a pouch on the outside which carries the main blade within a sealed area and the handle sticks out. This means the size of the bag is little more manageable for the younger players and therefore easier for them to manoeuvre. With the intermediate sized models such as the GM 707, the bag is a little bigger and allows for the bat to go in full length. Models like this are suited to both junior and senior players and as the bat is carried full-length inside the bag, it affords that little bit more protection to the bat as well as being able to carry slightly more kit. In terms of size is probably too big for players around the 8, 9 and 10 year mark, for those we would still suggest smaller models like the kookaburra 250 and 300 models as well as the GM 606 model.

For senior players the wheelie bag options are endless and the 2016 season has seen some stunning models such as the Gray-Nicolls Supernova and Players models. The Supernova looks stunning and has all the specs to match its good looks. The bag has a number of compartments, rather smart bat section on the outside of the bag, a stand-up design and a stylish gun metal grey colour scheme. On par with this morning would be the GM Duplex Wheelie and the Kookaburra Players bag.

Nabbys of the super big all singing dancing models, but what about those who want but we would regard as a regular size bag? Once again thankfully there is a huge range to choose from one of the most popular year after year is the GM five star original bag. This bag has a number of compartments, carries the bat full-length inside and is big enough to carry all your kit plus more.

Now we can get to talk about something that came about just a few years ago and is a range that currently outsells all others, the cricket duffel bag. The duffle bag Kim bout as a simple string top version but as soon developed into a multisection design bag that carries all your kit in a nice and compact manner that makes it easy to use on the bus as well as when riding a bike or motorbike.

The duffle bag range is currently produced to perfection by the likes of GM, Gray Nicolls, Kookaburra, Ton and New Balance. Most of these brands carry a simple string top version as well as the multisection options too. Although originally designed for senior players, Kookaburra had this year introduced a junior duffle bag, the KD 2000.

So when choosing a bag, first of all you should decide if you want a wheelie bag or duffle bag. Then it just depends on the size you think you need. Some of the smaller bags such as the GM 707 can be considered for both junior and senior players, The GM 5 Star wheelie is a perfect senior bag, then the likes of the Supernova or the Duplex offer the senior player with a lot of kit multi-compartment design for easy organisation and laying out of you kit inside the bag.

Here with mention just a few of the bags available and if you log onto our website you’ll see the full range available from the likes of the brands mentioned above plus more.

When is the best time to buy cricket equipment online or instore. 

We sell cricket gear all year round. In the midst of a wet and windy October we will often be helping someone select a new cricket bat, set of pads and even cricket spikes. For us, cricket is an all year sport that never stops being in demand.

When it comes to buying new kit, especially cricket bats were often asked the best time to do this. Well the obvious answer would be anytime is a good time, but with cricket bats it’s always good to buy a bat so you have enough time to prepare it before your first game or net session. All cricket bats, even those that are shown to be fully prepared and ready to play, in our opinion need to be knocked in. Ideally, two very light coats of oil to the exposed areas of the bat and then four hours of knocking in with a good quality mallet, will send you on your way to bat that not only performs well but will last longer to.

The knocking in process should be done over a period of time so as to allow the willow to expand and move around and then settle again during each knocking in phase. Out of the 4 hours we usually suggest 2 1/2 hours is allocated to the edges and the toe and the balance to the middle of the bat. Following this procedure will mean your bat is in perfect condition to start playing with.

So as we write this article we are coming to the end of January, which is therefore the ideal time to buy it but as with some time to go before the start of the season it give you adequate preparation time as well as the chance to have a few net sessions with it too. For those purchasing later in the season it’s not the end of the world, are you still going to be able to follow the same preparation procedure.

Again when it comes to buying the pads and gloves, if you can buy them a little bit earlier, it just gives you a chance to perhaps break them in when sitting at home watching TV, you could put the gloves on for awhile and this gives you a chance to break them in before your first game. Having said that however we find that nowadays the quality of batting gloves has inproved greatly and the materials are so soft that they hardly need any breaking in.

So it’s always a good time to buy cricket equipment, but with bats we just suggest enough time to knock in and prepare your bat properly.

How to choose a cricket bat – a buyers guide 

Selecting new cricket bats, whether you are 8 or 48 always has that special buzz and kid in a candy shop feeling.

It’s always great to see our younger customers coming in with thier elders, all ready to try out a selection of bats and with a wealth of knowledge, from all the reading up they have done on all the latest models.

To give a quick insight into bats, they basically start from a size 0 and go up to a H which stands for Harrow. So the full size range of junior bats is as follows: 1,2,3,4,5,6 and Harrow. In addition to these sizes, some companies such as GM also carry the academy size and others carry what they call the small men’s size. These bats are basically for the elder junior player that has outgrown a Harrow but is not quite big enough and strong enough to use a full sized bat short handle bat. The academy and small men’s bats may also be used by ladies.

For senior bats we nowadays tend to see Short Handle, Long Handle and Long Blade Bats. Over 90% of the senior bats we sell are Short Handle models. These tend to suit players up to 6ft in height and for those that are taller there are the Long Handle and Long Blade options to choose from. Long Handle bats have the same length of blade as Short Handle bats, but the handle length is around an inch longer.

With Long Blade bats the handle is the same as a short handle, it’s just the blade that’s a little longer. Having the slightly longer blade means taller players don’t have to bend down as much and can be a little more upright in thier stance.

For juniors, getting the right size bat is very important and key to really enjoying the game and being good at it. There can sometimes be a tendency to buy a slightly bigger bat in the hope and expectation that the young player will grow into it. However this can be a false economy as the bat can be too big, rather heavy and instead of playing with enjoyment, they actually get put off the game and the bat remains in almost unused condition for many years to come. A bigger bat will weigh more so may prove to be a little too heavy for the young player and then the added length of the bat may well mean that the handle jabs into the wrist area and cramps the batsmens play.

I would much rather a bat be the right size and be completely worn because of the sheer number of runs scored with it, rather than it be too big and it be used over the next 2 seasons and still look like new. Runs mean success.

Although this can vary, to give you an idea, a size 4 bat would typically be used by a 9 year old.

So once you have the size worked out, be this in terms of the junior or senior sizes, your next decision should be as to whether you opt for a Kashmir or English willow bat. For senior players, we would say keep away from Kashmir willow bats as they are a waste of money. They tend to be heavy, don’t perform well and don’t last either. Invest in an English willow bat and the extra money you spend will be well worthwhile, as not only will the bat play a lot better, but it will last a lot longer to. As for junior Kashmir willow bats, these are fine for players using a soft ball or those using a hardball that are just getting into the game and want to make sure they enjoy it, before investing more money into an English willow bat. For those who want better performance in buying in English willow bat will certainly reap its rewards as the whole play and feel will be considerably better.

Now we come to the price ranges. For a junior Kashmir willow bat the prices tend to be around the £30 mark. Now this will be for a good quality Kashmir willow that will feel light. For an English willow bat the prices tend to start from around £60 and can go up to £250 for the very best quality ones.

We carry senior bats starting from under £100 to those nearing £600. All of those bands will come in a variety of weights and pick up, so there is ultimately a bat for every type of individual. The most important thing when getting a new bat is how it feels when you lock it up. So that’s why we always tells customers to consider a few different model bats within thier price range and then go for the one that’s the right weight and type for them. If you’re buying online then that’s what we’re here for as our many years of experience is on hand for you, helping you to select the right bat.  If you coming to our store you’re able to choose at your leisure and of course one of our specs expert is always there to give thier quidance.

Kookaburra Kahuna Cricket Bats 2016

Used and made famous by one of crickets all time greats Ricky Ponting, the Kahuna has spearheaded the Kookaburra Cricket Bat range for the last few years.

Whilst brands continually change range colours, the Kahuna Cricket Bat has always been green and my bet says it always will be green. It’s what the Kahuna is know for.

This years new batch of Kahuna’s is the best ever with lovely grains and weights that will amaze you. For bats with profiles so big, the weights are simpler amazing with current sticks available from 2lbs 7oz upwards.

Check our online store for wide range of Kookaburra Kahuna Cricket Bats

Asics Running Shoes

Running is one of the easiest sports to get involved in and for this reason is probably one of the most popular sports in not only the UK but around the world. It’s a sport that takes virtually no planning, needs no partner, no court or venue and no membership fees. 

It all sounds so simple and in fact is, provided you just take care and use the correct running shoes. There are no many reputable brands out there with running shoes including the likes of Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Brooks and the list goes on. 

New Balance Cricket Bats and Equipment

2016 is certainly a big year for cricket and New Balance.

The company renowned for making some of the best running shoes has taken the market by storm and signed Joe Root, who is currently the golden boy of English cricket. A stylish batsmen, great personality and a young man who has his feet firmly on the ground, Joe Root is the perfect brand ambassador and now New Balance have him.

In addition to Joe, they also have another similar sportsman in Australia’s Steve Smith. Steve is another calm and mild mannered gentlemen whose batting prowess and style is always on display at the crease.

Our first delivery is due in December and expectations are that this year is going to be a New Balance Christmas. They have produced a small and concise range that covers the key batting pad batting gloves and cricket bat elements. They have two ranges available, the first is TC which stands for traditional cricket and then it’s the DC range which stands for dynamic cricket. Joe Root will be using the TC range which has the red and yellow colour scheme and this will be the one available in December. The DC range as used by Steve Smith is in the black and orange design and due in January.

Each respective range contains three price points of bat, pad and glove and all credit to New Balance in that the products are not overpriced at all, in fact when we were first shown the range I was surprised at the prices considering the quality. The fit, comfort and protection levels are all top-quality and personally I don’t see any reason for why this new range will not be a phenomenal success.

We are due to go live with the full product range on our website from December 1 with deliveries to be available very soon thereafter. Anyone that needs any further information please feel free to drop me an email on

All the best.

Check our online store for wide range of New Balance Cricket Bats

Cricket equipment and the art of listening

Every year we are treated to a wealth of new cricket equipment from all the leading brand names. From bats, gloves and pads to footwear, clothing and helmets, each major brand name is constantly looking for that all new, innovative material or revolutionary bat making technique, that will take the world by storm and therefore ensure market domination in the years to come!

This year when I heard the name Supernova, my first visions were of 2 brothers from Manchester singing away and eventually calling the track Champagne Supernova…basically I wasn’t too impressed and immediately asked our sales rep “why”?

I had visions in my head of everything I would hate in a cricket bat range. How wrong I was and how I really needed to give more respect to the expertise and judgement to the team at Gray- Nicolls, under the guidance of Nick Wilton, who over the years has developed a brilliant knack of listening to retailers feedback and acting on it. 

As retailers we get to hear first hand from customers as to what is good and what is bad in a product. The comments we get and also overhear in store are invaluable, but sometimes  the feedback we relay back to the brands is ignored because an element of pride kicks in. It’s as if to say well it’s my range and I will do as I want because I know best. That maybe the case but at the end of the day we have to listen to our customers as ultimately you make a product to sell it, not just admire it. 

Trust me there are brands out there that just don’t listen or when they do its 5 years behind time. Luckily the bigger brands like Gray-Nicolls, Kookaburra and GM are the ones that really do listen and 12 months on, what you say is very often seen in a new product. 

At the other end of the spectrum you have brands like Nike. Great at every sport and everything they do, but when it came to cricket they got it completely wrong. I recall seeing the range a few years ago and when asked for our input, I think they expected a typical wow I love it and you are amazing. What they got instead was I think your cricket shoes look awful, your bats need a lot of work and the clothing sizes are all wrong. We got a look that said we are Nike and we eat businesses like you for breakfast each day. Well low and behold a few years on and they have pulled out of the UK market and rumour has it they may quit cricket altogether. Arrogance more often than not causes ones downfall and the Nike scenario is a classic example. 

Another example relates to toe guards. For  many seasons we spoke to Salix about fitting toe guards to thier bats. The answer was always no, until Andrew Kember at Salix came to us one day with a big smile and said you will be pleased to know we will be fitting toe guards on the bats and it’s only because of you! To us it was certainly good news, as to many that looked at the Salix cricket bats we had on display felt something was missing. It’s not that we are mad about toe guards, it’s just what customers expect to see on a bat nowadays and specially when it’s a top quality one selling for over £300! Whilst Salix may have been stubborn when it came down to toe guards, a look at the rest of the range and you can clearly see it’s one made with customer feedback in mind. They have an excellent range of softs which are comfortable and certainly not offensive to the eye. Their bags take into account what players want, the colours they like and most importantly the price points they are willing to pay and that’s why Salix are good at what they do. 

So back to Grays. What they have created is a well thought out range of products in a non offending colour scheme that is designed to be liked my many and detested by very very few, if any. Bats hit every price point and the softs do the same. Producing a good glove or pad is so much more that just the colours. You have to use the right materials in the right places and if you do, you end up with a product that performs. Get it wrong and the feel just won’t be there. Gray-Nicolls are one of those brands that make brilliant batting gloves. The flexibility and comfort they offer is amongst the best and when you have the looks of the Supernova then you have the all round package. A couple of years ago they had an issue with their batting gloves, in that they were a little small and this created problems with online orders. The problem has since been resolved and the sizing is on par with other brands. 

This is what makes a successful brand, listening to feedback, acting on it and then producing a product that the customer wants. Sounds logical, but in practice it’s not so straight forward. Take a company like woodworm for example, they had a great brand name, some strong marketing and products that were well made, but for some reason they seemed primarily to appeal to the junior market only and that to for Kashmir willow bats only. I recall the Christmas just after England is famous Ashes victory in 2005, the whole country seemed to be cricket crazy and every little kid wanted a cricket bat for Christmas. Our phone just didn’t stop ringing and online orders were constantly coming through. It seemed like every child in the country wanted a woodworm bat. In this scenario woodworm had produced a product that everyone wanted, he only problem for them was that the profit margin on a Kashmir Willow bat was not big enough to justify the huge sponsorship for they had to pay the likes of KP and Flintoff.

One area in which we have a great advantage is in the production of pads and gloves. We have since 1973 produced our own VKS range of batting gloves and pads and have been lucky enough to work for the last 25 years with one of the best factories in the world. 

We hear first hand from our customers on what is good and bad about each of the softs we sell in store. We take this feedback and each year adapt our range to produce something even better. We constantly change the materials we use and the what goes inside the protective gear. There are numerous companies selling gear online now and whilst it all may look good in photos, we would never let our brand name onto most of it. 

We sell only one we believe in. Typically when you see a product on our website, or on our shelves it’s because we approve of it and we feel we can sell it to our customers with confidence. We like to think of ourselves as cricket specialists and experts, one that our customers rely on for our advice. We’ve never been one to just stock a brand because it’s in fashion or because it’s the in thing at the moment. For us to stock a product or brand we have to believe in it and we have to believe in the quality and value for money they offer. Brands like Boom Boom and Mongoose as well as some others that still operate just don’t appeal to us. We get them offering great deals and even offers of pay us when it sells, but wejust don’t operate like that. We don’t sell products because it suits our finances, we sell it because we believe in it and because we believe the brand supplying the product can offer the back up service in case of a problem. They need to be selling a quality product that’s based on sound principles of design, not just a label and brand. 

Cricket Bat Weights 


When selecting a new cricket bat there are numerous factors that come into play when making that final decision on the one. Price, grade, brand and model are the obvious ones, but ultimately the weight plays an important factor.

There are so many different models now available and each one will come in a variety of weights. Unlike tennis rackets which are manufactured to the precise gram, cricket bats will all vary in weight as they are mostly hand made using willow clefts. Each cleft will be different and this difference ultimately means each bat is unique in terms of weight. At our store in London we have literally hundreds of bats on display and each one is has its own characteristics, which our customers are able to see at their own leisure by going through the numerous bats we have on our shelves.

Recently a lot of emphasis has been placed on exact bat weights as per scales and whilst this may seem like common sense and the perfect way to select at bat, in practice this method is more of a hindrance and actually very often results in the perfect bat being rejected.

Speak to a bat maker and most will tell you than many Pro’s come in insisting on bats that weigh 2.8 or 2.9 but end up actually selecting bats that weigh more than that because they select on pick up and therefore the scale weight becomes irrelevant.

I think a classic scenario happens around 2 years ago when a customer that visited our store came equipped with his own scales. He let us know quite clearly that he didn’t want our help and wanted to be left alone so he could select his bat. To us a customers wishes are paramount so we left him alone and carried on serving others in the store.

Eventually I had to interupt him as around 2 hours had passed, he had been through and weighed over 100 bats and yet he looked totally lost. He was adament he didn’t want my help, but what he was  saying to me just didn’t make any sense so I had to be just as stubborn and insist I do help him. He told me he wanted a bat that weighed 2.9 but all the bats we had were too light. That just didn’t sound right so I asked him to give me some examples and low and behold every bat he weighed in front of me looked nice and thick, with impressive profiles and good grains but sadly for him all weighed 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 and 2.9. One part of me smiled and saw pound signs as with those sort of weights we could send out some messages on social media and have them all sold within the week. The experienced part of me however informed the gentleman that there was a problem with his scales and low and behold they were indeed 4oz out. So he was basically picking out bats that were exactly what he was looking for, but discarding them because the scales said he should.

Bat weight gives power, the heavier the bat the more it has to propel the bat further – similar ideology to Newtons Law. A skilled bats maker will look to make that bat pick up lighter. Careful shaping, design and know how, means a good bat maker will improve on the pick up and give it that lighter than its dead weight feel. That’s where pick up and not bat weight come into play.

Also lets not forget cricket bat grips and stickers. Today’s grips can weigh around 1.7oz and stickers weigh a similar amount, so a bat that’s crafted to weigh 2.7 ends up at 2.10 once it’s fully dressed up. The bat may weigh 2.10 but likewise the pick up may well be very different. The grip for starters helps the pick up, which is why we often suggest a 2nd grip on a bat. It will increase the scale weight but the pick up will become so much lighter.

I could go on and on, but I think generally the message is clear. Always trust your judgement and what your mind and heart tell you. A scale will show you a number, but that number is irrelevant when your heart tells you something else. Select a bat that feels right and the timing will be so much better and the runs will soon follow.

Cricket Bat cracks, splits and damage

Catching that first glimpse of your new cricket bat is something you never quite forget. I remember my first proper cricket bat being a size 4 Duncan Fearnley Polyplastic that had been specially made for me, by virtue of my father being such a good customer of Fearnley’s. I even had a sticker attached to the bat confirming that this bat had been specially made for me.

I remember knocking it in really well before taking it to school for our first game of the season on a sunny Thursday afternoon way back in 1979. It’s a memory that will stay with me forever and even though I have had many bats since then, that one is the one that will always  think of first, as that’s when I was told all about preparing and then looking after your bat.

Classic bat shapes from a bat that has been well maintained and looked after. 

Bats profiles may have changed considerably since the 70’s but the principles of bat preperation remain the same. Linseed oil, a knocking in mallet, strong arms and some ear plugs for the rest of the family!! The knocking in process is never really over done, as the more you prepare, the better prepared your bat will be. However it must still be done properly. The correct amount of linseed oil should be applied and to the correct areas of the bat. Then the knocking in mallet should be used properly. We’ve seen too many bats that have been hit too hard and have damaged the bat, as well as those that’s have been hit too softly.

The modern day bat profiles

So let’s assume your bat has been prepared and knocked in perfectly. Does this mean peace and harmony forever? The simple answer is no. All bats are expected to crack from the start and these cracks may well start to appear during the knocking in process, with thin cracks along the grains as well across the grains.

So as we expect to see cracks along the grains as well as across, this then brings about another discussion of how many grains are good and how many could we say is too many? Well this is a whole new topic and argument, but let’s just say that when I see certain retailers jumping up and down when they have a top end premium grade one willow bat with 25 grains, well that’s when I know they really don’t know their stuff!

So getting back to our topic, you should expect to see cracks on your bat and these can appear from the very first ball and if the ball has not been middled this may well look pretty ugly, even if it has been full knocked in. Such ugly cracks usually appear when the batsmen has played off centre shots and basically mistimed or mishit the ball.

When we see the top international players on TV they make it all look so simple. They time the ball to perfection and it’s perfectly middled too. With us mortals however it’s not so easy and with all the will and want in the world, such batting finesse is missing from most of us and that’s when we need to admit the damage on our bat is our fault and not down to the bat being “from a bad batch”. If the bat breaks or develops a really big crack then yes, it probably is a fault and the manufacturers guarantee comes into play, but hitting the ball on the toe or edge may develop an unsightly crack which will usually only be a superficial crack that will almost completely disappear by using some very fine sandpaper. The willow on your bat is made up of thousands of layers so any crack will only affect some of the layers at the top. Some gentle sanding for around 20 seconds and you will soon see those cracks disappear and realise that the manufacture has not made a faulty bat.

All the top bat manufacturers say that a bat is designed primarily to be played with the middle and that the edges and toe areas and more delicate and therefore more prone to damage. Constant hitting in such delicate areas will damage a bat and the batsmen must accept a degree of responsibility for such damage.

Antiscuff sheet with fibreglass edges and toe guard

We highly recommend all new bats are fitted with an anti scuff sheet, a toe guard as well as fibreglass tape to the edges. All of these will help prolong the life of your cricket bat.

So just to conclude, all bats will crack and usually that is a very good sign as it means that bat is not too hard and what some regard as a plank of wood. So if your bat shows some signs of cracking immediately don’t be alarmed as this is very normal.

All the bats we we stock are made for English conditions and this also relates to the cricket balls we sell. Most cricket bat damage is caused becuse cheap quality balls that are too hard are used.

Cheap cricket balls damage expensive bats… don’t make the mistake

You have spent hundreds of pounds in your bat an then invested hours of your time in its preparation…don’t allow someone to use a ball that cost a few pounds and that will ultimately damage your bat. This may well include your highly reputable cricket club. A cricket ball is going to be used by numerous people all day along, divide the cost and do the maths if it makes sense to allocate just a few pounds in a ball that will damage your cricket bat.