I’ve already worked through a guide to choosing a cricket bat and there’s also a piece on whether English or Kashmir willow is the best. One thing that’s left to look at is a list of the biggest and best bat manufacturers out there.
This is a worldwide list covering India, Australia, England and others and the 12 brands listed should be familiar if you watch cricket extensively on the television.
Best Cricket Bat Brands Worldwide
Gunn & Moore (UK)
I’ve mainly used Gunn & Moore bats over my career in club cricket and, while that’s not necessarily a recommendation, I really like the way they pick up and feel. I’m also in quite good company: In the present day, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, South Africa’s Aiden Markram and England’s Dawid Malan are among those who use the G&M Zelos.
They are based in Nottingham so those who grew up watching cricket in the 1980s may remember some of the players from that county. Tim Robinson and Derek Randall are among those international batsmen who first brought Gunn and Moore to my own attention.
They are a long-established UK company who first started trading in 1885 and they therefore concentrate on producing bats that use English willow. All sizes are made here from junior level upwards and they continue to be a prolific producer for club and professional cricketers alike.
SG: Sanspareils Greenlands (India)
Indian cricket bat manufacturers are often referred to by their abbreviations so Sanspareils Greenlands is more commonly known as SG. A balance of power and precision is the aim of this company and the branding on these bats is very distinctive.
The use of the bats is fairly widespread in international cricket and Hardik Pandya used the SG Savage Xtreme. That’s quite a fearsome name and Hardik is a powerful cricketer, capable of clearing the boundaries in T20 cricket around the world.
Sanspareils Greenlands was founded back in 1931 by the Anand brothers and the brand really took off when Sunil Gavaskar became their ambassador in the 1970s. Twenty years later, Rahul Dravid was the face of SG and, in the present day, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are among those who use these bats. Clearly, if you’re considering purchasing an SG product, you’ll be in very good company.
This is one of the few overseas producers whose bats are widely available in the UK and in other parts of the world outside of Australia. Kookaburra deliver an extensive range of bats and, like most companies on this list, they also produce other equipment including balls which are used in test matches and other professional cricket.
Most of the Aussie international cricketers of the 1990s and 2000s seemed to use these products but Kookaburra can now be seen in more parts of the world than ever before. England’s Keaton Jennings has played with the Kookaburra Ghost while other batters associated with the brand include Yuvraj Singh and Sanath Jayasuriya.
The company now has distributors in many countries so the costs of their equipment isn’t so bad. These are, however, premium products and an average Kookaburra bat may cost around £300 in the UK. English willow is primarily used and the brand also provides junior bats.
Like a number of the newer producers, CA’s top of the range bat focuses on power. The CA Plus 1500 Players Edition comes with big edges and a huge sweet spot so should be ideal for the limited overs big hitters. There are other bats available that could be more suitable for those who rely on timing but the main emphasis is on power and distance.
That theory is backed up by the fact that England’s World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan is among a big and impressive list of brand ambassadors. Other players who currently use CA bats are Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Tamim Iqbal, Evin Lewis and Sherfane Rutherford. Some of those batsmen are touch players so it’s clear that CA can produce a product for all types of hitters.
English willow is the main focus for this brand which first appeared in the 1960s. Adult and junior bats are produced here.
D&P Cricket (South Africa)
This is probably the most recognisable bat brand coming out of South Africa right now. D&P Cricket were set up in Cape Town in 1999 and they now have distributors in many countries across the world.
A list of the current sponsored players shows that the focus here remains largely on South African cricket. Current international George Linde is on the list and he’s joined by Marchant De Lange, Bjorn Fortuin, Keegan Peterson and top women’s player Laura Wolvaardt. There isn’t too much sponsorship activity outside of Africa but D&P are also used by international cricketers from Ireland and the Netherlands.
English willow is exclusively produced here and the company reports that owner Paul Borst regularly flies to India to pick up new techniques which help to develop the products. Junior bats are supplied too.
It’s a growing company but D&P will only really start to make an impact when their bats are more widely seen outside of South Africa.
Aero (New Zealand)
One of New Zealand’s biggest manufacturers, Aero state that their equipment is the most technologically advanced in the sport. That’s a bold claim but the company certainly use science and technology in their designs which include a host of protective gear.
But what about their bats? Higher quality, English willow is used with gradings from one down to three. At present, just four different bats are available which are G1, G2, G3 and a G1 limited edition. The G2 and G3 products are also sold in junior editions.
The grading of the willow separates the bats but all come with large profiles and big edges. So there isn’t a great deal of choice but those who like these characteristics should enjoy using an Aero bat. There aren’t too many international players using Aero outside of New Zealand but their profile could be raised now that the Kiwis are world test champions.
Gray Nicolls (UK)
Founded in 1855, Gray Nicolls cricket equipment has been widely used for over 150 years but their bats largely came to prominence in the 1980s. One of the players who I most admired at that time was David Gower and he preferred the Gray Nicolls brand.
Modern day players also like the bats with David Warner and Kane Williamson among the company’s many customers. That’s an interesting combination for me – one is a power hitter while the other relies more on touch and timing so it suggests that Gray Nicolls can produce bats for all types of player.
Junior ranges are catered for too and, like most UK manufacturers, the emphasis is on premium English willow. A long history is important when considering a new bat and Gray Nicolls are one of the oldest brands around. I’d strongly recommend them and so would a number of top international players.
I would say that this is the most recognisable bat brand from India but I’d like to hear other opinions on the subject. MRF seems to appear more regular on our TV broadcasts here and I know that their bats have been used by Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. That must be a huge endorsement and, if I could easily get hold of one, I’d certainly give MRF a try.
It would also be interesting to see MRF being used more widely by players outside of India and I understand that this is just starting to happen.
English willow and Kashmir willow are available from a brand that produces a full range of products for youths and adults. Established in the 1980s, MRF became a household name from the 1990s onwards when some of India’s biggest stars began to use their bats. These days, they are more readily available thanks to a larger distribution network in the UK and beyond.
The Mongoose is a real curiosity within the game and it looks like no other bat. While the overall length is the same as a conventional bat, the Mongoose’s blade is around a third shorter than a regular piece of equipment. In order to compensate, the handle is over 40% longer.
The theory behind the unusual design is that more power goes through the blade as the batsman swings the bat. This is why the Mongoose has been favoured on occasions in limited overs cricket. Another distinguishing feature is the lack of shoulders attaching the blade to the handle.
Relatively few professional players have used the Mongoose since the company was formed in 2009. Adrian Shankar used it and he is an interesting character who I recommend you read up about.
Readers may be more familiar with the fact that Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina used the Mongoose in early editions of the Indian Premier League. Currently, however, it is rarely seen.
They may trade in the shadow of Kookaburra but the Spartan brand of bats are starting to stand out in their own right. This is likely due to the fact that Chris Gayle, Michael Clarke, MS Dhoni and the great Sir Vivian Richards are among those to have used their equipment. Mitchell Johnson has also used it and, while he is primarily known as a bowler, he also made an international test hundred.
There’s a good range of batsmen in that list including Master Blasters and touch players who rely more on timing. That may tell us that Spartan offer a great, all-round selection of bats. The Sparta 1000 is a good example with a good balance which could be useful for all club batsmen. The cost is quite high with that particular bat retailing at around £400.00.
However, there are lower prices that could suit all budgets here. Spartan also produce junior bats and English willow is used throughout.
Laver and Wood (New Zealand)
Established in 1999 in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay, Laver and Wood are among the most recognisable bats to come from this part of the world. James Laver is the founder and, if you happen to be in New Zealand, he can custom make a bat to suit your own style of play.
This is another bat where branding is more modest and that allows players to appreciate the quality of the blade. On their website, it’s also good to see that the company promotes their junior bats just as strongly as their adult range.
High quality English willow is used and Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara are among those who have used Laver and Wood bats on the professional cricket field. They are two of the most prolific players around and, as we all know, Lara holds the record for the highest scores in first class and test match cricket.
SS: Sareen Sports (India)
When I first saw an SS bat, I mistook it for an older English brand by the name of Stuart Surridge. I’ve since come to understand that this is a popular company in its own right that originates from India.
They are based in Uttar Pradesh and the company name was originally registered in 1969. From that point onwards, the brand started to become more familiar as a number of Indian first class cricketers took to the field with an SS bat under their arm. More recently, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag have been among the top Indian international cricketers to prefer SS.
The branding is very distinctive and the bats can be used by a range of different batters. Whether you need the power to clear boundaries in limited overs games or a bat with a sweet spot that aids timing, Sareen Sports should have you covered.
As I’m based in England, it’s been curious to note that not all of these brands are widely available here. If some of the world’s best players are using these bats then it’s surprising that they’re not easier to get hold of.
The qualities of each individual producer are listed here but what I’d really like to know is what actual users think of some of these bats. It would be fascinating to hear some thoughts and get some personal insights on some of the brands that are not widely available in the UK.
As for bats available in the UK, you should consult our article about the best English cricket bat manufacturers.