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When you start playing hard ball cricket, you will need a lot of equipment to keep you safe. A bat is essential, along with batting pads, gloves, a helmet and groin protection. We also strongly advise using a thigh guard. Many players also buy a cricket bag to transport and store their gear.

If you’re short on time and just want a quick checklist of the essentials, here you go:

Read on if you would like some additional information and advice to help understand what to look for in your equipment.

We always recommend visiting us in store to be fitted for your equipment wherever possible, but if you can’t get to one of our 6 branches, this guide will help you choose the best equipment for your needs and to keep you safe out on the field.

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The first thing you’ll need is a cricket bat. Whether you are a junior playing for your club or school, or you’re starting out a little later, we have a bat for everyone. When it comes to bats you need to look for two things: the type of wood they’re made of and the grade of willow. You’ll then need to choose the correct size and weight.

What’s the difference between Kashmir and English Willow?
Cricket bats come made of two different types of wood Kashmir and English willow. The latter is more expensive but therefore better even when it comes to beginner cricketers.

What does the willow grade mean?
The willow grade of the bat determines its performance with the lower number grade being of better quality. You can find bats with a willow grade starting from 1 to 5.

What size bat do I need?
The key with bat size is to match it up with your height. When you stand the bat next to you, the handle should rest just below your hip joint. Use our size chart to find the right size.

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Gloves and Batting Pads

A good pair of batting gloves will offer excellent protection against the ball, but still feel comfortable to wear. They should allow a good range of movement in your hands to grip your bat well. For comfort, you'll also want to check they have good ventilation.

For sizing measure from the start of the wrist to the tip of your middle finger (the longest one).

Batting pads should be protective, lightweight and comfortable. They also need to be easy to put on. Try to avoid buying pads that are too big, they will be difficult to run between the wickets in!

For sizing, measure from the centre of the kneecap to the top of the foot (where the tongue of your shoe would sit).

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What next? A helmet is essential. Under the regulations of the game, all players must wear a helmet when batting. Some clubs include helmets in the team gear bags, so it might pay to check this with your club. If you are purchasing a helmet, one of the most important things look for is its fit. A good fitting helmet will not only protect you better, but it will also be more comfortable to wear. The weight of a cricket helmet is also a consideration. A heavy helmet has more protection, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that it is uncomfortable to play in.

Measurements for a helmet should be taken around the middle of the forehead, above the eyebrows, and slightly above the ears to the back of your head.

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Groin Protection

When it comes to groin protection, comfort is important. The key to comfort is the shape of the guard and its stability. We recommend specifically designed cricket underwear to keep the groin protector stable for the most comfortable and secure fit.

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Thigh Guards and extra protection

A thigh guard can save you some nasty bruises and allow you to play your shots confidently without fear of being hit by the ball. All in one thigh guards can provide you with greater protection. For example, Aero Strippers offer greater all-round protection than the average, traditional Thigh Guard - providing protection for both thighs and front hip.

For extra protection, you may want to consider a chest guard, forearm guard or wrist guard. All of these products will help protect you from the ball, help prevent injuries and give you more confidence.

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In the first few years of hard ball, you’ll mainly play on artificial or turf wickets, so cricket shoes are not essential until you start playing on grass when you’ll be after shoes with spikes for extra grip. You might still want to wear cricket shoes when playing on artificial wickets for the extra protection they give to your toes! If you do plan on buying cricket shoes, remember you don't need spikes unless you are playing on a grass wicket.

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You'll also probably want something to carry all your gear in. A cricket bag is also very handy to keep your gear protected and organised - no searching for a missing glove on a Saturday morning! With bags you have three options: a carry bag, a wheelie bag, or a duffle bag. A carry bag is usually fine for the first year or two, but you'll often find a wheelie bag, or a duffle bag that you can carry on your back is a little easier as you get extra gear.

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Wicket Keeping

The position of wicket keeper is often shared by a few members of the team in the first years of hardball, so you'll often find that team gear bags will include wicket keeping gear. If you're keen to have your own wicket keeping gear, we'd recommend gloves and pads to start with.

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Cricket Balls

While not technically part of your required gear list, one of the most common questions we're asked by new hardball players, is "what type of ball should I get to practice with?"

We recommend any 142g Leather ball. Just remember to watch the windows if you're practicing at home!

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