A cricket bat is the primary tool used in the societal game of Cricket. It is theorized that Cricket was first invented by shepherds and the bat was a simple shepherd crook. The first named cricket bat was created to resemble a modern day hockey stick, but has since evolved into a tool with more of a rectangular shape. This rectangular piece is referred to as the blade of the bat and is generally flat with a ridge on the reverse side. The blade and its striking zone is the most important part of the cricket bat as its smooth surface is essential for striking a ball travelling up to seventy miles per hour. The striking zone is about five to eight inches from the blade handle which is constructed of light weight cane. The cane handle is spliced into the blade by means of a spring design invented in 1880 by Charles Richardson that remains the current standard. The part of the bat closest to the handle is referred to as the shoulder, and is not used for striking the ball. The shoulder provides a curve enabling the handle to be integrated into the blade of the bat. The bottom of the blade is referred to as the toe. The toe rests on the ground, while the batsman waits to hit the ball.
Many different styles of bats have been explored over the years with various dimensions and compositions. In 1974, Gray-Nicolls, a cricket bat manufacturer introduced a revolutionary bat with a weight reducing scoop. As the first bat to have the wood removed from the back center of the blade, the GN100 Scoop with its radical differences quickly became a best seller. Up until 1979, there were no formal rules governing the construction of the cricket bat. Any variety of bat could be used during a match until an incident in Perch, Australia involving Dennis Lillee and the use of an aluminum bat caused quite an uproar. The British felt that the aluminum was damaging the cricket ball and shortly after standardized rules of solely wooden bats, were put into place.
In lieu of game standards, cricket bat blades are made from wood, traditionally willow wood treated with raw linseed oil. Willow wood is light in weight and shock-resistant, making it perfect for creating a tool that is used to strike objects at high speed without denting or splintering the wood. Typically the handles are made of cane which is not only light but comfortable to grasp.