New Materials For Cricket Bats

My take on a story that has come out today about bamboo being considered as a possible alternative material for the making of cricket bats (willow is the traditional choice).

This post is prompted by a story that bamboo, more sustainable than the traditional willow, is being considered as a possible material for making cricket bats.


The laws of cricket currently state in the section codifying what is acceptable in a bat that “the bat shall be made of wood”. Officially bamboo is a grass and not wood, so strictly technically a change to the laws of cricket would be required to permit the construction of bamboo bats.

The reason for this requirement being codified into law dates back to the post-Packer concord series of 1979-80 when Australia, with the World Series Cricket players restored to the fold, played three test matches against each of England and the West Indies. In one of the Australia v England matches Dennis Lillee, one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game and a competent lower order batter came to wicket bearing an aluminium bat, having come to a financial arrangement with the manufacturer. Mike Brearley, the England skipper, was less than impressed, quickly noting two things: firstly that every time the bat made contact with the ball it made an ugly clanging sound and secondly and more importantly that the impacts of this new type of bat on the ball were damaging to said item. There was an on-field spat, and Lillee, instructed to revert to a wooden bat, hurled the aluminium implement away in disgust.

To prevent the aluminium bat from making further appearances an addition was made to the laws of cricket, and the overly restrictive formula that ‘the bat shall be made of wood’ came into being.


Although it is technically grass and not wood (this distinction is to my mind a piece of legal pedantry in the David Allen Green class) I do not see a lot of difference between a wooden bat and a bamboo one in terms of either the effect its impact has on the ball or the distances the ball can be hit with it (I would object to a cork bat on the latter grounds – the natural springiness of cork would surely cause a bat made of that material to send a ball much greater distances) and this to me is the key. I would say that new materials for bats would need rigorous testing to ensure that they do not damage the ball, that the noise of the impact of bat on ball is not positively unpleasant, and that they do not radically alter the game by having a massive effect on the distances that balls can be struck. Rather than worry overmuch about the type of material from which the bat is constructed its effect on the game should be the key criteria. If it can be demonstrated that a bamboo bat will work not too differently to the traditional willow I would have no objection to such being used.

Possibly the keenest statisticians (are you reading this James McCaghrey?) will come to produce tables comparing scoring by batters with wooden implements and with bamboo to analyse whether the different material is having any great effect.


My usual sign off…

Nonuple Nelson

My 999th post on aspiblog – an appropriately quirky melange – share if you agree!


The title of this post comes from a cricket related quirk, explained by the image below, which is an extract from Mike Brearley and Dudley Doust’s book about the 1978-9 ashes series (six matches, Australia 1 England 5):


The ‘nonuple’ part of the title comes from the fact that this is my 999th post on aspiblog, and like the old Gloucestershire spinner Bomber Wells who deliberately retired on 999 first class wickets I have decided the commemorate 999 rather than the more conventional 1,000. By the way, although 999 is indubitably part of the ‘Nelson’ sequence I suspect that never mind me as someone immune to woo in all its forms even the late legendary David Shepherd might have considered that at 999 there was little to worry about (in point of fact it is 0% success rate as a score at which wickets fall – twice in first class cricket a team has scored that many – Victoria both times, against Tasmania in 1922 and New South Wales in 1926 and both times they reached the 1,000 safely and won the matches by monster margins – an innings and 666 and an innings and 656 runs respectively).


First a story which I reblogged from Why Evolution Is True yesterday, but which is so spectacular and so well presented that I am sharing a link to it today as well – click the picture below to visit:


Second, a suggestion that London should take its cue from Paris and make public transport free of charge (what are you waiting for, Sadiq?). I have already shared this on my London transport themed website, and now take the opportunity to promote it here – via two pictures, the first of which contains a link to the original article on

The image in the article.

The image in the twitter link that put me on to the story.

Still on the transport theme is this piece in The Guardian about how Uber are (mis)treating their drivers.

My next link concerns libraries, and the fact that they are being hit by huge funding cuts. At the bottom of the article mention is made of the library from which the most items have been borrowed this year – Norwich Millennium Library (and although that is the library I use least frequently of my three regulars my visits there are not entirely unconnected to the large number of items borrowed there!). Click here to see the original piece.

My final link in this section is appropriately cricket themed. Before getting on to it I note by way of observation that as the third day draws to a close the current test match between India and England seems to be capsizing under an overload of runs (Eng 400, Ind currently 445-7). A new cricket blog has appeared on my radar, and I introduce it to my readers by way of a link to a review of Steve James’ book The Art of Centuries.


To end this post here are some coin images from yesterday at work (on this occasion high-res scans rather than photographs as these were small lots):

This is lot 122 (all lots featured here have three images – a composite and close-ups of each face). These lots will be going under the hammer in mid January.


Lot 132


Lot 134


Lot 136


Lot 137


Lot 138


Lot 140


Lot 141


Lot 143


Lot 145


Lot 157 – note the alteration to the obverse face of this coin.