Kashmir vs. English: The Battle of the Willows
Willow is the only wood that is used to make cricket bats. A batsman may be very skilled, but a good bat offers an added advantage to his game. Willow provides the perfect blend of strength and compression needed for a cricket bat. Currently, there are two types of willows used for mass production of cricket bats.
The Kashmir Willow and the English Willow have been used in every nook and corner of the world where cricket is played. The willows are obtained from the same tree; Salix Alba. But what is the difference between the two? Is one of them better? The following blog answers these questions. So, gear up and get ready to experience the Battle of the Willows!
Grown in England, the English Willow is abundant in the areas where the ground is soft, and the conditions are wet. These conditions give the wood a soft and spongy texture, which makes it springy and durable. The softness of the wood provides the English willow bats with an upper hand over its Kashmiri counterpart because it absorbs the impact of a cricket ball. This absorption reduces the amount of impulse, which is felt when the batsman faces fast deliveries. The softness also adds the factor of durability as the bats will not get damaged by the impact of hard cricket balls.
Grown in much drier conditions, the Kashmir Willow is mostly found in the Indian subcontinent. The conditions give the wood its hard and heavy properties. The bats made from it are a lot harder than their springy and soft English counterparts. It also implies that neither the bat is excellent, absorbing the impact of fast deliveries, nor is it durable for a longer time when played with a hard leather ball.
How to differentiate?
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two kinds of willows is visual. English Willows are generally whiter than the Kashmiri ones. They look a lot shinier when finished. Reddish-brown lines known as grains are prominent in English Willows. The orientation of the fibers in Kashmir Willows is horizontal, while the English Willow features vertical fibers. The sound of impact also helps differentiate the two kinds of willows. The English Willows have a soft ping while the Kashmiri ones have a harder and sharper ping.
Who wins the battle?
Based on the comparisons made above, it is safe to say that English Willows are better to use if you want to pursue cricket professionally. English Willow bats are a lot more costly than the Kashmiri ones and have to be maintained. But bats made from Kashmir Willows are cheaper and are maintenance-free. So, if you are a fan of gully cricket, then the Kashmir Willow Bats are the ones you should opt for! But if you want to get into the big leagues, then English Willow bats are the ones for you.