Ben Tinkler-Davies, one of the Bamboo bat researchers has still not lost hope despite the research study by him and his Cambridge University colleague (Dr. Darshil Shah) has been rejected by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the laws of the game.
The researchers study suggests that cricket bats made from Bamboo offer a more suitable alternative to the traditional use of willow.
Currently bamboo cricket bats fail the MCC laws in 2 places. 5.3.2 states “the blade shall consist solely of wood”. Bamboo is technically a grass so fails in this regard. Secondly, laminated bats are banned except in junior cricket.
Speaking exclusively over the telephone from London, he says, “We would look to work with the MCC to apply these rules fairly but all sports are always needing to innovate. We believe we can work with the MCC to redefine the laws of cricket, whilst maintaining the balance between bat and ball”.
The duo spent the last 18 months developing the research and the first prototype.
“This involved extensive material testing and computer simulations of bat-ball collisions. Even if the MCC decides to ban bamboo cricket bats this is invaluable research and ground-breaking nonetheless. For us, we were interested to see if the sustainability of cricket could be improved. Finding that bamboo outperforms willow helps in this regard but we were interested in this project from a scientific perspective”, he adds.
Explaining more about their work, he says, “The main areas of focus were on the stiffness, hardness and frequency (sound) of the cricket bat. We found that the bamboo was able to outperform the willow across almost all tests. This indicated the material is more suited to cricket bats than willow. However, it is significantly denser than willow so future work will look at optimising the bat profile”.
“We worked with a small, local manufacturer for the first prototype but we look forward to working with larger manufacturers and professionals in the near future”, he signed off.