There are a lot of things that can go wrong with your bat handle, and it might not be immediately obvious that there is a problem. So, what should you check for?
First, let’s start with what the handle is made from. For the past hundred plus years, most bat handles have been made from cane, due to its flexibility. Here at Cooper Cricket, we use Sarawak cane. We also add strips of rubber and cork to the handle to minimise vibration and therefore improve performance.
As we are approaching preseason, now is the perfect time to check your bat handle to see if you notice any cracks running down from underneath the binding of the bat or any cracks in the shoulders of the bat. Sometimes you might not see a crack in the handle, but you can hear a creaking sound when you use the bat. This can be one sign that your handle is broken BUT it could also be that the handle cane is starting to separate from the rubber strips. This will not require a full handle replacement but will need to be repaired.
If you do see cracks starting to form down the shoulders of the bat, you will need to consider replacing the handle, the reason being, those cracks most definitely run further down inside the splice of the bat, which is the V you can see where the handle joins the bat.
When a bat handle or shoulders are cracking, you will inevitably get lower performance from the bat because the bat is no longer one solid piece. This is when vibration occurs which will cause loss of power and performance and you definitely don’t want that!
What else should you look out for?
- A reduction in the performance of your bat – this is another indication that you might have cracks so if you are having a hit and notice something different, check it over.
- The handle feels overly flexible or ‘whippy’ – this could indicate there is a crack higher in the handle, possibly underneath the binding underneath the grip in the first third of the handle above the shoulders. When this is the case, the ball might sound different coming off the face of the bat.
- Cracks in your stickers around your handle – if you can see cracks coming through your stickers it could mean there's movement in there and it will feel a bit loose.
- A gap in the V, between the handle and the bat – to test for this, flex the handle - push and pull it to the left and right, and if you see a gap in the V, you know there is an issue. If that joint isn’t tight, every time you hit the ball you will get vibration through the handle and if you don’t already have cracks in the shoulders, you will soon!
If you notice cracks, or any of the above issues, take your bat to your local cricket bat repairer and get it repaired. Of course we can repair it here at Cooper Cricket and have you ready for the upcoming season with our fast turnaround.