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We have been selling cricket bats at VKS since 1973 and more than a business, cricket bats have become an obsession.
As cricket bats are made from a natural product and are not like tennis rackets for example, which are from fully manufactured materials, each cricket bat will feel and perform differently. It is for this reason that each time we select our bats at the various factories and warehouses, we are like kids on a Christmas morning.
It’s at this bat selecting point that our years of experience comes into play. It’s than inner feeling, that inner instinct that just knows which bat will be perfect for our shelves. From the initial feeling we get when a bat is picked up, to testing it with a mallet, that’s when we know it’s the one that will make one of our customers happy. It’s all down to the pick up, balance and feel. If these three components are there, we are onto a winner. Then comes the bat mallet test. This again is down experience. More than listening to what a bat sounds or feels like when its first hit with a testing mallet, it’s about knowing what it’s going to be like once it’s been knocked in and had a few innings and net sessions. This knowledge can’t be bought or learnt, it simply comes with years of looking at bats and loving what you do.
So what do we do when we are asked about edge size and spine height? Well the initial feeling is one of despair and this is the same reaction from most experienced bat makers I have spoken to. Yes it’s nice to have a bat with thick edges and a big swell to the back, but this should be seen with the naked eye. Taking out rulers and discarding a bat because it has 38mm edges and not 40mm edges is absurd, but it happens.
When your talking about edge size, then it’s obviously about the thickest point, but nobody seems to take into account for what length does that thickest point go on with consistency. I’m not trying to make life complicated here, but just think about it. Also what is the overall shape and profile of a bat. If a bat needs to be light, needs to have thick edges and a steep spine, then common sense says it has to give in from somewhere. A recent conversation I had with Jatin Sareen, who incidentally owns one of the biggest cricket bat factories in the world went along the lines of “well if you want me to get the weight down l, then I am going to have to make the edges thinner but trust me they will be brilliant bats” and trust me, those words were good enough for me.
A customer recently sent back a bat and instead wanted a Kudos 2 because it has thicker edges. What he didn’t take into account however, was that the Kudos 2 could afford to have thicker edges because the blade was shorter.
Yes edges are important and it’s great to have a bat with thick edges, but don’t let it be an obsession.
Let your timing do the talking, not a ruler.