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Gear of the year: Cricket equipment showcase 2019 – part one

by Wisden Staff 7 minute read

It’s every cricketer’s favourite time of year. Spring is approaching, the days are getting longer, and the latest new kit has hit the market.

We’ve teamed up with Pro:Direct Cricket to bring you the best that 2019 can offer. Pro:Direct Cricket is the world’s largest online cricket store, with unrivalled access to the latest and best playing equipment, shoes, clothing and accessories.

Specialists are available to provide any information about any and every product stocked, and next day delivery to UK addresses is available for almost everything… particularly useful if you end up making an unexpected comeback in 2019. The new season starts here.

MRF

MRF Chase Master

RRP: £865

Adult range starts from: £430

Junior RRP: £250

A classic mid-blade sweetspot combines with big edges and shoulders to offer power for driving, while a square toe lowers the bat’s centre of gravity to help you maintain your stance and ensure a clean pick-up. Compared to some Indian bats, the Chase Master features a less significant bow, making it just as suitable for English wickets as it would be on the subcontinent.

Pro:Direct says: While the Chase Master’s price might be eye-watering, it is picked from the same batch of bats used by Virat Kohli himself. Perfectly balanced and seemingly with the middle everywhere, when you pick it up yourself, all you’ll be thinking about is how many hundreds you’re going to score with it.

MRF 360

RRP: £430

When you combine that heavy tapering with big edges, a significant bow and slight concaving, you get the perfect mix of lightweight pick-up and undeniable raw power through the middle of the bat.

Pro:Direct says: This bat has been designed for playing your shots. It has a supremely light pick-up so you can see why it’s the choice of AB de Villiers. It certainly shouldn’t hold you back from hitting the ball wherever you like.

New Balance

New Balance TC1260

RRP: £495

Junior range starts from: £45

With its extended mid-blade swell, the New Balance TC 1260 bat is made for shot-making all around the ground – perfect for players who like to build an innings through impeccable shot selection. Big edges provide power while the extended middle provides control.

Pro:Direct says: New Balance have become one of the most popular and recognisable bat brands in recent years down to the fact that they have some of the world’s best players in their stable. The TC has a more traditional profile but still has a large middle and edges to appeal to the modern-day cricketer.

New Balance Burn

RRP: £175

Junior RRP: £125

With its mid-blade sweetspot, 40mm edges, high spine and lightweight pick-up, the Burn is designed for quick-fire, reactive shot-making. An ideal opening batsman’s bat.

Pro:Direct says: The Burn is one of the best-value bats on the market. Marketed as a lightweight bat, it still has the size to think you’ve got an absolute monster in your hands, and with its camo graphics you’ll certainly stand out from the rest.

Shrey

Shrey Performance

RRP: £50

Junior RRP: £40

The Performance tips the scales at approximately 940 grams, with improved facial and side protection and a removable sweatband.

Pro:Direct says: As an entry-level helmet it ticks all of the boxes. With similar stylings to the top-end Master Class, the Performance looks good, and still offers an adequate level of protection.

Shrey Master Class Air

RRP: £179

Junior RRP: n/a

This popular helmet weighs approximately 750 grams, which is remarkably light for a modern lid. With its advanced airflow system and new and improved grille and side protection features, it’s easy to understand why this relatively new name on the market is proving such a hit with the top players.

Pro:Direct says: It’s the choice of many an international cricketer and you can see why. It’s very lightweight and comfortable. Joe Root is known to be a big fan of the new model.

Gray-Nicolls

Gray-Nicolls Shockwave wicketkeeping gloves

RRP: £100

Junior RRP: £100

All the mod cons. With its classical design and traditional leather-made square cuff, these gloves carry the unmistakeable stamp of Gray-Nicolls. This is a high-end, ultra-lightweight PU glove, equipped with an octopus grip with leather backing, T-shape webbing and high-density foam padding.

Pro:Direct says: A classy yet striking design from Gray-Nics, these gloves are perfect for a keeper who wants to look tidy behind the stumps but stand out from the crowd.

Chase

Chase FLC

RRP: £450

Junior RRP: £180

Not an iconic brand, but a guarantee of quality. The FLC range comprises premium Grade 1 willow, with a lowish sweetspot elongated over eight inches, making this the perfect blade for the player who likes to drive off the front foot.

Pro:Direct says: An elegant bat with a long middle that makes you feel, in your head at least, that you can’t miss. It’s not the biggest bat in terms of heft, but it has impeccable pick-up and balance for a bat with a lower middle.

Chase Vortex

RRP: £250

Junior RRP: n/a

Made from Grade 2 willow and incorporating a duck-bill toe and huge profile and middle, the Vortex has a shortened blade, which makes it well-suited to the modern game’s hitting requirements.

Pro:Direct says: While the Vortex possesses many of the features and qualities of the FLC, the shortened blade allows for more wood in the right places and makes you feel confident of clearing the ropes.

Puma

Puma EvoSpeed 19.1

RRP: £95

Junior RRP: n/a

Designed for use at the elite level, a brand-new lightweight upper offers superb support and allows for dynamic movements on the pitch. TPU material for protection and durability, a reinforced toe area and an EVA midsole. Tip top.

Pro:Direct says: A brand new shoe for Puma for the first time in a few years, a lightweight shoe with plenty of support and stability along with a striking colourway.

Newbury

Newbery Invictus

RRP: £475

Range starts from: £195

Junior RRP: £210

Newbury has been churning out top-quality bats for the best part of 40 years now and these latest models are no exception. The Invictus is made from Grade 1 willow, featuring a classic profile with a mid-to-low swell that’s perfect for English conditions, and a bigger bow and a slightly rounded back for added power.

Pro:Direct says: Newbery SPS bats are something to behold, the best of the best willow with strikingly good balance, and the Invictus profile is no different. A full profile with a rounded back and large edges makes for a perfect combination of power and balance.

Newbery Excalibur

RRP: £475

Range starts from: £195

Junior RRP: £210

A second version of the Excalibur for 2019 is now on the market, with full square shoulders and the signature duck-billed toe. A mid-to-high sweet-spot is perfect for the predominantly back-foot player who likes to cut and pull.

Pro:Direct says: A high middle might not suit everyone but the Excalibur is very well balanced, and a large swell and thick edges means it’s got all the power you need.

Newbery SPS softs

Gloves RRP: £95

Pads RRP: £118

SPS softs have been created and styled in the hallmark tradition of Newbery. With a clean look and feel, they are a perfect match for any other Newbery cricket bat and offer the best protection possible.

Pro:Direct says: SPS are the pinnacle of softs, super-light with maximum protection. They’ve stuck with a completely clean white look which has been hugely popular over the last few years and they are bound to be a bestseller again this season.

This 2019 cricket gear of the year showcase was brought to you in collaboration with Pro:Direct Cricket. First published in issue 17 of Wisden Cricket Monthly.

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