Batting Pads Buyers' Guide

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BATTING PADS Batting pads or leg guards are considered an absolutely essential part of a cricketer’s attire and exist to protect a batsman’s shins, knee and part of the lower thigh. The majority of cricket pads have three Velcro straps to securely fasten the protective gear to each leg, safeguarding the batsman from lower-body damage from a hard ball. Contemporary leg guards are manufactured using strong, long-lasting and ultra-light synthetic materials like PVC, PU and high density foam to not only deliver excellent protection, but to provide comfort and minimal levels of fatigue. Cricket pads were formerly made from cotton, foam and cane wood strips covered by white cloth, which made them very heavy and impacted negatively on a batsman’s stamina. Leg guards have had to adapt to the modern game, not only by becoming much lighter but also providing greater all-round protection.

PADDING PAD FEATURES

The face of the cricket pad is usually segregated by vertical sections, which allow the pad to infold the leg. Traditionally, this section would comprise of a cane shaft and shock absorbing padding material. The knee role not only provides ample protection for the knee but also allows you to flex and bend effectively at the joint. The top hat refers to the flappy area above the knee role, which protects the lower thigh. Due to the amount of muscle surrounding the femur bone, the top hat offers only limited protection. Top of the range cricket pads comprise of wings which offer further protection to high risk areas around the side of the leg. Wings do not feature on cheaper ambidextrous batting pads that are designed to suit both right-handed and left-handed batsmen. Velcro straps have displaced leather straps with metal buckles, providing more comfort and a lighter specification. The instep protects the lower shins and ankles, and is reinforced to prevent wear and tear when rubbing against the batsman’s footwear. Extra inner padding is added to some batting pads to maximise protection and comfort, while additional bolsters promote air flow.

BATTING PAD MATERIALS

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic plastic that is seen as a cheaper, lighter and more durable alternative to leather, although difficulty in recycling this compound has seen a decrease in its utilisation as PU (Polyurethane) has grown in popularity, offering similar qualities but greater recycling options. Many of the shock-absorbing high density foams have used PU. HD foams are an obvious choice for cricket pads due to their exceptionally low weight and ability to provide excellent shock absorption. The use of cane has been deployed in cricket pads throughout cricket history but is now marginalised to lower-end products, while fibre glass is sometimes added to provide greater stiffness. Synthetic fibres like Kevlar or Normex are renowned for their excellent strength-to-weight ratios and shock absorption qualities, which either provide support or totally displace cane rods. Remnants from the cotton industry are also used as a low-cost means of impact protection.

BATTING PAD PURCHASING TIPS

Costlier batting pads tend to offer greater impact protection and shock absorption levels, will promote greater movability and stamina at the crease due to a lighter specification, and will offer enhanced ventilation. Some cricket shots require a lot of bending – such as the sweep shot – and may be difficult to execute with oversized cricket pads. Whilst it is tempting to purchase large junior batting pads that your son or daughter will grow into, oversized leg guards may restrict their movement, negatively affect their stamina at the crease and ultimately lower their performance levels.