Picture the scenario. A deadly new virus that affects the brain has spread across the world, turning all those infected into soulless corpses who possess ravenous appetites for human flesh. All across the world, populated towns and cities have turned into deserted ruins as its undead citizens roam the streets looking for live meat and the survivors have long since taken flight to look for higher ground. You are part of a rag-tag band of such survivors brought together by fate and circumstance and have been on the run from the zombies since it became clear that the government lost all control of the situation. Your party are on a motorway and are being chased slowly but surely by a large group of undead. You are on foot, because your vehicle ran out of petrol. You meet another group of zombies coming the other way and soon it becomes apparent that you and your friends are going to have to fight your way out of this situation. None of you have any weapons, but as luck would have it you come across an overturned lorry carrying a large shipping container full of expensive and brand new cricket bats, bound for a secret ICC Doomsday bunker underneath MS Dhoni’s house. Kookaburra, Gray Nicholls, Gunn & Moore, Slazenger; they are all there, as well as some lesser known brands. Your friends are not connoisseurs of cricket unlike yourself, and so rush to pick up any old junk. One of them selects an old Slazenger V100 (the one with Mark Waugh’s signature). Another picks up a Gunn & Moore with its splice missing. But you know better. You know that to fight zombies you need the right bat, with the right pick and the best middle and it is worth picking through the selection for a moment to find the best blade, and possibly a back-up that you can sling across your back like a Conan-style broadsword. Of course there are many worthy items worthy of your choice, but here are 10 of the best (in my opinion). Also for the sake of variety, no bat manufacturer will appear more than once.
10. Gray-Nicholls Kaboom
Considered a bat for the T20 over specialist, the Kaboom was endorsed by Australia’s David Warner (before he became zombie). The most striking feature of it; apart from its loud stickering; is its massive spine. This means that the Kaboom offers a lightning quick pick-up which is important for fighting the undead as they can appear out from anywhere. Prominent concaving of the bat enables a flat face and an enormous edge to it. Upon wielding this weapon, it is perhaps to bring the bat down face first onto its low but explosive sweet spot as opposed to bringing it down side on. This is relatively cheap, but for a more expensive high end Gray-Nicholls, check out the Oblivion.
9. Kookaburra Rogue Players Edition
This is one of the highest quality bats you could get from Kookaburra. In use in a cricket bats, its big spine low down the bat make the middle lower down and perfect for driving the ball. In this situation it may be better suited to tackling some of the quicker undead and runners. Light pick up, like most bats of the brand and thick edges make it a very useful tool. I’d pick this bat over the more cheaper Kahuna any day.
8. Bulldog Growler
The Grade 1 willow clefts selected to make Bulldog bats are very light, enabling for a swift pick up. The Growler is no exception and also has lovely graining to it. It doesn’t have a particularly high spine for a big-hitter but has a concave shape to it packing quite a bit of meat behind a very large middle which is located in the centre of the bat. It has a bigger edge than the other examples in the range and its light pickup gives is tremendous hitting range. A thick grip around the handle means that you will keep a firm hand on it as you cleave your way through your hungry enemies.
7. SS Ton Gladiator
SS (Sareen Sports) do bats in both Kashmir and English willow. The Gladiatoris made out of Grade 1+ English Willow which is excellent quality. It has plenty of graining (around 10) which provides strength to the face, great for maximum impact. There is a slight bow to it and can weigh up to 3lbs and still have very light pick up. The middle is a bit lower than on most English willow bats but it swings hard and true. Similar bats have been used by Keiron Pollard and Kumar Sangakkara (when they were human).
6. Willostix Medusa
Willostix bats are among the most beautiful out there. The Medusa isn’t perhaps the best bat of their range you could go for but in terms of ping, it certainly is something. Made from the finest grade of willow and with prominent edges that cater to the big basher, it also has a lovely concaved profile that gives its concentrated center some serious firepower. I love the simple stickering on the face with the snake (taken off their Anaconda range) down the back. Another thing I like about Willostix is that their bats are aimed at improving the club player as opposed to showing off high-profile professionals who use their products. Of course this is all a bit pointless now in a world where cricket is a thing of the past (but Surrey still manage to make an operating deficit every year).
5. Shark Cricket: The Great White Pro
As far as stickering goes, I think Shark bats are up there with the best. Their marketing department certainly pulled off a masterstroke by naming the different bats in the ranges after shark (Great White, Hammerhead, Tiger) and the quality of the bats are shown in the number of ‘Fins’ assigned to it. Most of the bats are 3 to 4 fins with the best being 5 fins. This particular specimen is the Pro version of the Great White. Made of Grade A++ English Willow it offers top of the range quality in that respect. 30mm edges, light bowing with a flat face and a large sweet spot bang in the middle of the bat makes for blistering power imparted on the hapless zombie. Shark bats were used by Dwayne Smith.
4. Vantage Lithium
Vantage began producing quality cricket bats in 2010 and the Lithium is perhaps the best thing they have produced to date. Concaving on bats does make it more aesthetically pleasing but Vantage go with the traditional view that less concaving = a bigger and better sweet-spot and in the case of the Lithium the middle is in the center of the bat and is enlarged by a flat face. So all in all, this bat is not for the batsmen who drives the ball down the ground for two runs. Its middle will send any delivery (and the odd zombie head) into the middle of next week. Plus its simple stickering and Grade 1 willow makes it look fantastic.
3. Boom Boom Signature 175
The 175 is the best bat in the Boom Boom range and was voted the ‘Best Bat’ by the Wisden Cricketer in 2011. One thing I love about it is its extremely bowed profile, giving it a feather-light pickup for a bat of its size and heft. It is made from Grade 1 English Willow and whereas bats with this level of concaving might have its middle lower down the bat, the 175 has its sweet spot in the middle. It is surprisingly light as well, so even the weediest of apocalypse survivors can wield this weapon with enough bat-speed to put a dent in the thickest of zombie skulls.
2. Spartan CG Authority
Perhaps the best way of summing this bat up is to mention that the ‘CG’ in Spartan CG stands for none other than ‘Chris Gayle’. Because this is bat that the big man uses to bring some of the best bowlers in the world to their knees. This bat is significantly bigger than the other major bat in the Spartan armoury which is the MC Limited Edition which is Michael Clarke’s weapon of choice. It can be hard to wield if you aren’t as powerful as Chris Gayle but if you possess the fore-arm strength you will find that it has a strong pickup which makes for a stronger swipe at your enemy. Upon contact with you will find that there is an enormous sweet-spot lower down on the blade (great for sub-continental conditions). The sheer range might mean that you can take out multiple opponents with one swipe. Rarely has Grade 1 English willow been used for a more terrifying purpose.
1. Hammer Vapen Platinum
There is no other way of putting this other than to say this, but this bat costs in excess of £400. But there is a reason for it as this is an absolute beast of a bat. Made from Players Grade English willow it follows the adage of flat face and and less concaving to enlarge the middle to provide ferocious hitting power. The cleft is of the highest quality and provides great pickup. As is the norm these days it has huge edges and spine with the swell coming middle to low down the bat. Like some of Hammer‘s other bats such as the Beserker, the middle is fairly high up, making it good for short-pitched bowling or alternatively it would be great for fighting back after a load of undead have got you pegged back into a tight situation. The power profile of this bat is immense and will take apart anything that stands in your way, be it flesh-hungry zombies or some poor sod who plants down a lazy half-tracker in your hitting arc. Either way, you wield this blade in a zombie apocalypse you definitely will not be getting killed off before season two.
So there you have it. If you ever find yourself within reach of a load of cricket bats during a zombie apocalype you now know which blades to go for. I must admit though that whilst I had an idea of what my number 1, 2 and 3 would be, the rest were up for grabs somewhat. As a result I have left out some equally worthy cricket bats. Notable mentions go to the GM Epic and Players Editions, Affinity Spectre, CA 15000, Slazenger V3260 Ultimate and of course the Mongoose ToRQ amongst others. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to comment.
As an aside, I would also like to mention that this was just a bit of fun (I got the idea after watching ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and reading this blog) and must not be taken seriously and in no way was I making light of the use of a cricket bat in Oscar Pistorious’ allegations.