Despite the branding on their bats, it is very difficult to tell what professional players are actually using. A Kookaburra may not be a Kookaburra, this has been well documented. As Michael Clarke ends his Test career, he will be handing on the baton of leadership to Steve Smith. Michael Clarke uses a Spartan cricket bat and Steve Smith uses a New Balance. How do these cricket bats shape up head-to-head?
Steve Smith uses a New Balance DC1080 cricket bat and Michael Clarke uses a Spartan MC Edition Players Grade Cricket Bat.
Starting with the handle both the New Balance DC1080 and the Spartan MC Players Grade cricket bat are made with a 9 piece cane handle. One of the interesting difference between these two great cricket bats is in fact in the handle. The New Balance Cricket Bat has a semi-oval handle whereas the Spartan has a rounded handle. In general players have been tending to opt for more of the semi-oval shape as it is proven to provide more control and comfort, however the rounded handle as provided by Spartan possible provides more flexibility. Unless you are playing at the very top level, the difference in handle shape may be minimal unless you are used to a particular shape.
Both of these bats are constructed to pack a huge amount of power. The Spartan has a more of a square look to it as they have squared off the edges in a very good design that maximizes the power all over the bat face. The New Balance DC1080 is a more classical bat face and look. It has a very traditional look to it and has a mid to high hitting zone. For cricket bats in the USA, the mid to high hitting zone is well liked because of harder pitches, whether turf or matted.
In a very similar price range to each other, it boils down to weight distribution and pick-up. I personally feel and I stress that it is personal, that there is slightly better weight distribution and balance in the New Balance cricket bat. The Spartan cricket bat has fantastic pick-up but this may be slightly outdone by the beautiful balance of the New Balance cricket bat.
Interestingly enough both Clarke and Smith used to use Slazeneger.
There is no doubt that Spartan stormed the cricket bat market all over the world with highly impressive cricket bats. New Balance have entered strongly and I feel that the New Balance range of cricket gear is going to be a huge hit in the USA.