Whenever players have to buy cricket bats, the first thing that comes into their mind is what exactly is a willow, and what is the difference between Himachal, Kashmir, Australian and English willow. The price of the bats and even the status is decided by whether a bat is English willow or Himachal willow or Kashmir willow.
Now let’s begin by clarifying one thing- every bat that you buy is made up of almost the same kind of tree known as Salix, this tree grows in colder regions and thus cricket bats are made using willows from colder regions. Regions with a hot and temperate climate do not have the suitable climate for Salix plants and thus just a handful of regions in the world produce cricket willows.
English willow is considered the most superior amongst all willows owing to variety of factors kike color, grains, weight and softness of willow. English willow tends to be less dry when compared with pother kinds of willows that are available in the market.
English willow tends to be clear in clear with less spots and marks. English willow is often described as being white in color, on the other hand Kashmir willow is slightly brown or off white. Similarly, Australian and Himachal willow tends to be little less white as compare with English willow.
Grains are the lines which divide the face of the willow into small vertical parts. Grains are often used as a marker to identify the quality of the blade and grade it. English willow bats tend to have very clearly demarcated grains which appear very clear as opposed to Kashmir and Tennis willow bats where grains are not very clearly demarcated. English willow bats can have up to 12 grains. Bats with more than 10 grains attract the highest price.
Hard and Soft Willow
One peculiar thing about the English willow lies in its softness. While Kashmir and other willows tend to be hard, English willow is often very soft. Softness of the English willow makes it better in Strokeplay as opposed to the other kinds of willow. However, soft willow English bats are rare and very expensive, such willows are mostly reserved for professional players.
One major difference between English and Kashmir willows is that Kashmir willow requir4s a lot of knocking before the Strokeplay is enhanced while in case of English willow, the bat is often ready to play which does not require a lot of knocking. Kashmir willow bats tend to be a little slow in the beginning but once they are knocked well, they are as good as English willow cricket batts.
English willow is always in very high demand due to its quality, texture, softness and lightweight and thus English willow cricket bats are very expensive as opposed to Kashmir willow cricket bats which are available at a low price. English willows are imported from England and thus the additional cost of transportation makes them super expensive.
English willow bats are super light and probably the lightest bats in the world. On the other hand, Kashmir and Himachal willow tends to be a little heavy. English willow bats can be trimmed to a low weight, whereas there is a certain limit to how much weight we can reduce in a Kashmir willow cricket bat.