Image Credit: Unsplash/Pixabay
Researchers from the renowned Cambridge University have found bamboo to be a far more suitable material for making cricket bats than traditional willows. According to a study conducted by Cambridge's Centre for Natural Material Innovation, bamboo would make far better cricket bats than traditional willow because the material offers a better "sweet spot" and transfers more energy to the ball when hit by batters. The study suggests that cricket bats made out of bamboo would be highly effective than those made of willows because the material is significantly stronger than traditional wood.
The study, which was published in The Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, says that bats carved out of bamboo can be made thinner than willow bats because the material can withstand higher loads. This means that the batsmen could use lighter bats, which should help them in swinging the bat even quicker in the air. The researchers also found bamboo to be stiffer than willow, which makes the ball go faster when it leaves the bat. Traditional cricket bats are usually compressed to harden the surface and when the team of researchers applied the same process on a bamboo bat, they found the sweet-spot area to be performing better. As per the study, the sweet-spot area on the bamboo bat performed 19% better than those on willows.
Dr Darshil Shah, who was part of the research, said the bamboo bat makes it easier for batsmen to hit boundaries off a yorker. He also added that a bamboo bat is as comfortable as a traditional willow because the vibration levels on both materials are somewhat similar, meaning both materials transfer a similar amount of force to a player's hands when they strike the ball. The replacement of willow bats with their bamboo counterparts would also tackle the shortage of bats across the world. A traditional willow takes nearly 15 years to fully mature in England, whereas bamboo matures twice as fast.
Cricket bat materials are regulated by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the governing body of world cricket. The body says that a cricket bat should be made up of solid wood. However, if the shift happens in the future, it would allow the world's leading cricketing market, India, to take over once again. India has an abundance of bamboo forests and if the rules are changed in the future to accommodate the massive find, India will definitely play a big role in flooding the global market with cheap bamboo bats, given the resources and the unmatchable love for the game the country enjoys.