The traditional English willow used in the manufacturing of cricket bats has a strong competition. And a much better at that if a UK research is to be believed that claims bats made from bamboo are not only a match for willow but also have a much larger sweet-spot and are more sustainable as well.
As per the Cambridge University study, bamboo is 22 per cent stiffer than willow and thus the ball will travel at a much greater speed after hitting it. Additionally, the sweet-spot (a region on the bat where if the ball hits, it flies away in high speed) on these bats is much superior.
“This is a batsman’s dream," said Dr Darshil Shah of from Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation. “The sweet spot on a bamboo bat makes it much easier to hit a four off a yorker for starters, but it’s exciting for all kinds of strokes."
The study, published in Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, indicates that a cricket bat can be manufactured from laminated bamboo and it has a significantly higher density than that of one made from traditional willow.
However, bamboo bats of the same dimensions as willow bats are much heavier but Shah, himself an U-19 cricketer, says they are working to optimise that.
The researchers also claim that using laminated bamboo will enable cricket become a more sustainable sport and also increase its global appeal. “… the use of laminated bamboo could enable cricket to become a more sustainable sport, in the face of decreasing willow supplies and an increasing demand for bats due to the global outreach of the game," the study said.
What adds to the lure of bamboo is the fact that it is cheaper, grows quickly (seven years needed to mature as compared to 15 years required for willow) and abundantly available.
“It is also very prevalent in countries that are taking up cricket such as China, Japan, South America as well,” Shah was quoted as saying The Guardian.