We asked Kingsgrove Sports Centre founder Harry Solomons to put his years of cricket experience to good use - and choose a few of his keepers from this season's outstanding selection of cricket bats.
“The first bat I’ve picked out is the Gray-Nicolls Atomic 1400. Gray-Nicolls are obviously market leaders.And the Atomic has a beautiful shape, a shape I like a lot—somewhat of a subcontinental shape, though some of these are Australian-made. And what I like about it is—even though it’s a mid-profile bat, the profile goes right down to the toe. It has a fair middle right from the top of the shoulder, almost to the toe of the bat. This sort of bat may suit the hitters of the game. It’s got a very light bow—which, in my opinion, might be the perfect bat to hit over the top. So I would advise this sort of bat more to the hard hitting player, the power hitter, rather than the ‘grafter’— that’s what we call a cricketer who’s a bit more ‘correct.’ Beautiful ping, beautiful punch—but more importantly, it’s made out of Grade 1 timber, and it’s retailing around the $735 mark.”
Kingsport Immortal (Releasing Soon...)
“Obviously, I’m a little bit biased. The second bat I’ve picked is the new Kingsport Immortal bat, which is basically our bat. Manufactured in India of English willow—we have picked Grade 1, high-quality match timber for this bat. The willow is picked to our specifications, and we are very insistent on the quality of the bat. And what I like about this bat is that it’s mid-profile, but it extends a bit lower. It’s got a nice, slightly subcontinental shape towards the toe of the bat. What I really consider to be a good bat is one that starts with a fairly thick shoulder and extends to the bottom, right to the toe of the bat—and this bat has it. It’s thick in the shoulders, it remains thick as we go down through the middle, and it’s got quite a substantially profiled toe. Certainly it will have the typical subcontinental Indian punch in it. It is an Indian-made bat, but it’s very much made to our specifications. Also, as you can see, we have new labels this year. We’ve moved into an exclusive lovely new set of labels for the Kingsport range. $675 for a top made, Grade 1 English willow bat. It’s our flagship bat. It’s going to be a winner this year.”
“Among my favourites of course is the New Balance TC 1260 bat—a bat that was used last year by probably the most exciting player to me in one-day or limited over cricket—and that’s Aaron Finch. It’s a beautiful, subcontinental type of shape and profile. Slightly thinner on the shoulders, but a very substantial middle in the bat, moving to a good lower middle. It has a reasonable toe, and this gives it an excellent ping. Beautiful grain on this bat—it’s a Grade 1 bat, around the $725 mark, so you’re looking here at a test quality bat. I would again recommend this to the hitters, the all-round cricketer who loves to give the ball a bit of a bash.”
“The new Gray-Nicolls Kronus 800 has a brilliant mid profile. I love the apex of the bat, the middle of the bat where you strike the ball. It has a reasonably thickish shoulder, and then goes down to quite a big middle, and then a substantial toe. Anything made by Gray-Nicolls is a good bat. It has a brilliant ping. I think in terms of price, around $365, this bat should be a priced-to-sell winner. It is a Grade 2, but you don’t necessarily need a Grade 1 to make a bat go well. For a Grade 2, this bat is going to be a winner. It’s going to be an excellent product, especially for the price-conscious cricketer.”
“A cricket range is never complete without a decent Kookaburra. And the Kookaburra Ghost Pro Lite bat is certainly going to be one of my favourites—and a favourite among the Australian cricketers, because Australians do love a light bat—they love to pull and hook. This bat has been made exclusively for Kingsgrove by Kookaburra, factory prepared for us. And it has a brilliant, nice, easy pickup. So for those who like a good quality light bat at a decent price, this would range around the $350 mark. Lovely stickers, beautifully finished, great graphics. It is going to be a winner among those who prefer a bat that goes well, but yet is light and has a nice, easy, cool, very silky pickup. And it comes with a sleeve, so it’s Ready Play.”
“And I’ve picked another Kookaburra. I quite like this bat—it’s the Blaze 2000, and it’s very well priced. It’s in that mid-$400 mark for a good quality Grade 2. As I’ve said, Grade 2 willow doesn’t make a bad bat—you can get almost a top test quality bat in a Grade 2, it just depends on the ping and the pickup. And this bat has a beautiful mid profile. Extends down strong, still thick down to the toe, and it picks up very nice and easy. It’s an excellent bat. Not overly heavy, I’d say more medium to lightweight. But excellent pickup and excellent ping. And great price at $465.