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Kashmir Willow vs English Willow; Which one is better? This is an important question that every cricketer comes across at one point or the other. Majorly because they are the only two willows used in preparing cricket bats. If a bat is made of wood obtained from any other tree, it will not work in favor of the batsman. It might break, or even give a shock to the batter.

Anyhow, when you plan on buying a new bat for yourself, which of these two should you select, the English Willow or the Kashmir Willow one? While a batsman may be very skilled, a good bat contributes a lot to how well he plays. And hence, selecting the right cricket bat should always be given the top priority.

What exactly is it that differentiates these two willows?

Is one better than the other? And which one should you buy?

Especially, if you are a beginner, these might be difficult questions to answer which may well leave you confused. 

And that is exactly what we are about to discuss in this article. Here, we will explain to you the difference between the bats made using these two willows (Kashmir Willow and English Willow) in utmost detail.

So, without any further ado, let us get into the ‘willows’ right away.

Kashmir Willow Vs English Willow

What is Kashmir Willow?

Kashmir Willow is a tree that is abundantly found in the Kashmir valley. There are lakhs of willow trees in the valley at the moment. The wood of this willow is extensively used for preparing cricket bats as it is tough, shock-resistant, and durable. Today, ‘Kashmir Willow’ is synonymous with the bats that are manufactured using its wood.

This willow grows in the wild and is also cultivated to obtain woods to manufacture cricket bats. It is said that the saplings of the Kashmir species of willow were imported by the British from Essex during the colonial period.

Kashmir Willow Trees
Kashmir Willow Trees in Srinagar

What is English Willow?

Similarly, the willow that grows in England is known as English Willow. This willow is specifically grown for manufacturing cricket bats. The scientific name of this tree is Salix alba. The English willow is grown in plantations and its only aim is the manufacturing of bats.

English Willow is considered to be the most superior cricket bat in terms of quality. It is because of the wood that is used to make these bats. Saplings from Essex in England were taken to Australia and New Zealand to be cultivated as well, but ironically they did not survive.

History of Kashmir Willow

To understand how the two willows are different, understanding their history is also important. The willow tree used to make cricket bats is Salix alba as this species is the most appropriate for manufacturing cricket bats. Other variants of the willow tree are too dense and heavy to make cricket bats.

This tree has been native to England for thousand and thousands of years and that is originally where it grew. But when the Britishers ruled India, they saw similarities in the climate of the Kashmir region and where the willow trees grew in England. Seeing this as an opportunity, the willow was brought to India.

When the British brought the sport of cricket with them to India, there was a need to manufacture cricket bats locally. So, somewhere around the 19th to early 20th century, the willow tree was planted in Kashmir and thus, the story of ‘Kashmir Willow’ began. This gave rise to the bat industry in the valley and it generated ample employment for the households residing near the bat manufacturing units.

So, while the ‘willow’ tree remains the same, due to the changes in the soil as well as climatic conditions of Kashmir and England, there are some differences in the bats made with Kashmir Willow and English Willow. 

Evolution of Cricket Bats
Evolution of Cricket Bats

The Difference between Kashmir Willow and English Willow

Before buying a cricket bat, it is actually important to know the difference between the two willows so that it is easier to make a choice. Especially from a beginner’s point of view, knowing the difference between the two can become very crucial.

But here I must tell you that English Willow bats are promoted by leading cricket equipment manufacturing companies around the globe such as Gray Nicolls, Kookaburra among others. They have an enormous marketing budget which helps them to showcase their bats in a better light. On the other hand, manufacturers of Kashmir Willow bats are small business owners and factories who cannot afford to market their products on a global stage.

So, this makes the perception of English Willow bats a lot higher than its counterpart made from Kashmir Willow. Let us take a look at the bats made using the two different willows one by one.

Kashmir Willow Vs English Willow – The Differences

Color of Bat

The bats made from Kashmir Willow are a little darker in color as compared to the English Willow. Its color can be described as a lighter shade of brown. On the other hand, the bats made from the English willow are a shade or two lighter than their Kashmiri counterpart and can be described as almost whiteish.

Weight of the Bat

As compared to the English Willow, the Kashmir Willow bat is somewhat heavier in weight. A bat that weighs around 1100 grams if made with English Willow would be around 1220 grams when made with Kashmir Willow.

Structure

In terms of structure, the English Willow is much softer than the Kashmiri one. In fact, the Kashmiri one is known to be quite hard.

Density

The bats made from Kashmir Willow are known to have a much higher density as compared to their English counterparts. When playing with Cricket balls that are cheap, English Willow breaks easily. That’s because these balls are heavier than those approved by ICC.

Sweet Spot

The English Willow bat has a much larger sweet spot when compared with the Kashmir Willow. This however only makes a difference to players who play with true cricket balls. Generally, at the local level balls used to cost around 200-500 INR and thus are heavier.

Maintenance Required

The English Willow requires more maintenance than the Kashmir willow. In absence of oiling and proper storage, the bats will break or get damaged.

Durability

While the durability of the bats made from English willow is good, the bats made from Kashmir Willow have better durability than that. Since the English Willow is softer, it is more prone to breakage. Players who wish to slog, and play cross-batted shots tend to break English Willow bats very quickly.

Price of Bats

The Kashmir Willow bats are a lot more affordable than the English Willow bats. The English Willow bats are actually quite expensive. While a good Kashmir Willow bat would cost 3000-4000 INR, a good English Willow bat will cost above 13000 INR.

Grain Texture

The grains in the English Willow bats are very clear and stand out. On the other hand, the grain texture of the Kashmir Willow bats is somewhat vague. But grade 1 Kashmir Willow bats are known to have well-visible grains.

Fibre Orientation

The fiber orientation of the Kashmir Willow bats is horizontal whereas the orientation of English Willow bats is vertical.

Response of the Bat

While the Kashmir Willow offers a good ping off the bat, the ball ping response offered by the English Willow is better.

Kashmir Willow by Kashmirica
Grade 1 Kashmir Willow Bat

All in all, if you compare a Grade 4 English Willow bat with a Grade 1 Kashmir Willow Bat, as shown in the above pic, Kashmir Willow would win anytime. And that is despite their large difference in prices. We hope that all our analyses gave you a clear idea of Kashmir Willow vs English Willow and how the two are different.

More about Kashmir Willow Bats

How to identify?

It is quite easy to identify a Kashmir Willow cricket bat from its appearance. Its color itself will give away that it is a Kashmir Willow bat. This bat is brownish in color and light to darker brown colored bat will reveal itself as a Kashmiri willow. You can also identify this bat through to its grains. The grains on the Kashmiri variant are not very clearly pronounced on the bat and they are inconsistent.

Cost of Kashmir Willow Bat

A Kashmir willow is a lot more affordable than its English counterpart and hence, that often makes it a good choice. The price of the Kashmir willow bat can start anywhere around INR 3000 and go up to INR 5000. A tennis cricket bat made from Kashmir willow would cost anything between 1500-2500 INR.

Performance of Kashmir Willow Cricket Bat

The performance of a bat made using Kashmir Willow is generally very good. It also depends on other factors like how often you plan and how the bat is used. But the general performance of this bat is quite good.

Maintenance Required

Like most other things, good maintenance can improve the longevity of your bat as well. Any bat requires knocking in before you use it for the first time. After that, it requires a little maintenance from time to time. However, the maintenance of an English willow cricket bat is 3x that of a Kashmir willow cricket bat.

More about English Willow Bat

How to identify?

Again, just like Kashmir Willow, you can identify an English Willow bat from its appearance. It is whiteish in color which immediately gives away that it is an English Willow. Identifying it by its color is the easiest way. Also, its grains are more defined which will make it clear to you that it is English Willow. Moreover, this bat is light in weight which will help you identify it.

Cost of English Willow Bat

Since this bat is considered to be quite a superior one, its price tends to be on the higher side. It is a lot expensive as compared with the Kashmir Willow. The starting price range of the English Willow Cricket bat is INR 7,000/-. This price depends on a lot of factors and also varies based on the grade of wood used. An English Willow bat can also cost you as much as INR 150,000/-.

Performance of English Willow Cricket Bat

The English Willow bat is well-known for its fantastic performance. Its performance cannot be questioned as it is quite good. As a result, this bat is preferred by professional cricket players. However, cheaper versions of the English willow bats that are below 15000/- INR in price won’t have a great performance.

Maintenance Required

The English Willow bat does require a good amount of maintenance. It requires more maintenance than the Kashmir Willow bat. Along with proper knocking, the bat needs to be maintained well too. Moreover, its maintenance cost can also be high at times.

Kashmir Willow Vs English Willow – Which one should you choose?

Kashmir Willow

There are a number of important factors that you should consider before ultimately choosing the right bat for yourself. The Kashmir Willow bat is suitable for you if:

  •  You are an Amateur

If you are an amateur or a beginner then a Kashmir Willow bat is the perfect choice for you. It can give you great practice and help you better prepare for the sport. If you are in your early years of playing cricket then there is no bat better than the Kashmir willow. It can help you hone your skills and then eventually, help you move to an English Willow bat.

  • You play as a hobby or for recreational purposes

If you play cricket just as a hobby or with your friends as a recreational activity then the Kashmir willow cricket bat is the most suitable for you. It is perfect for casual play and can help make your game even more enjoyable. You can also get a Kashmir willow cricket bat of good quality and use it to play for your local tournaments. 

  • Looking for a budget-friendly bat

Another reason to choose the Kashmir willow bat is that it comes at a cheaper price. So, if you are looking for a bat within a budget then look no further than Kashmir willow. Especially if you are a beginner, it is always better that you start with something that isn’t as costly.

All in all, Kashmir Willow is a great choice when it comes to bats and there is no reason you shouldn’t consider it. If the above-mentioned parameters fit within what you are looking for then you should go for a Kashmir willow bat without a second thought.

And if you are looking for a great deal on this bat then there is no better place to buy one than Kashmirica- the most amazing quality bats at unbelievable prices!

English Willow

The English Willow cricket bat is a great choice for you, if:

  • You have the skills and play professionally

If you have been playing cricket for a certain period of time and have already honed your skills then the English willow cricket bat is the right pick for you. If you have already perfected a wide range of shots and are well-versed with the basics of batting then you can go for this bat.

  • Higher-level cricket

If you are serious about playing the sport and wish to play or already play cricket at a higher level then you can go for the English willow bat. As you will need a high-performance bat, English willow is the right choice in this case. As this bat also has a larger sweet spot, it is suitable for professional cricket playing. So, if you are playing at a competitive level then you can go for this one.

  • Budget

While budget needs to be considered here as well, the above two points play a more important role. So, if the above two criteria are met and if you have a higher budget then English willow is the right choice for you.

Over to You

We hope that this in-depth article on Kashmir Willow vs English Willow bats helps you understand the difference between the two in detail. Ultimately, which bat you should go for depends on your purpose and the use of it. Remember that a person who plays for recreation purposes will have different needs than a person who plays cricket professionally. So, keep the points mentioned in the article in mind and make your decision accordingly.

Do you wish to buy premium bats made in Kashmir? Look no further than us.

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