What is the Difference Between a Leather Bat and a Tennis Ball Bat?

leather bat vrs tennis ball bat

The game of cricket is an exciting and healthy way to engage the body while meeting new people. There are several sports equipment in this game, two of which can be very much confusing. In this article, I did some research and I’m going to clarify the difference between a leather bat and a tennis ball bat. Enjoy! 😀

So, what is the difference between a leather bat and a leather tennis ball? The leather bat mainly refers to the cricket ball-bat which consists of a cane handle attached to a flat-fronted English willow wood blade used by batsmen to hit a hard cricket leather ball and a tennis ball bat is mainly made of Kashmir willow wood often used to hit tennis balls in a cricket game.

With is the first set of differences established, there is, however more to how to differentiate between the two types of cricket bats. I will delve deep into more differences between the two.

What is the Leather Bat?

The leather bat is basically a cricket bat used to hit hard leather cricket balls and its mainly made from wood with a cane handle attached to a flat-fronted willow wood blade. Its use was first mentioned in 1624.

It is constructed with its blade made of a flat-faced wooden block with a ridge on the back. The particular type of willow used is tough and shock-resistant. The leather bat is traditionally made from willow wood. To give the leather bat relentless durable protection, it is treated with raw linseed oil.

The handle of the leather bat is wrapped with rubber grip and edges of the blade closest to the handle are known as the shoulders of the bat, and the bottom of the blade is known as the toe of the bat.

When you purchase a leather bat, the first thing you do is to do knocking-in with an old cricket ball or a special type of mallet to allow the soft fibres to compact the soft fibres within the bat and reduces the risk causing damage to the bat.

The leather bat has to be cared for and maintained regularly. While some bats have plastic coatings and cannot be oiled with others, you can use raw linseed oil on them before play and regularly during the season of play. The oil application is good because it makes the bat less sensitive to humidity changes which cause warping or sudden splitting of the bat.

If you’re interested, you will want to check out this high-quality leather bat on Amazon!

What is the Tennis ball bat?

The tennis ball bat is also known as the tape ball cricket bat and it has the basic look of a leather bat. Unlike the leather bat, the tennis ball bat is usually made of Kasmir wood because it is used to hit soft tennis balls, wind balls, or for junior cricket or a low leather cricket competition.

You can also use tennis ball bats to hit leather balls but the impact on the bat will be felt much more as the tennis ball bat will wear out much quicker.

If you’re interested, you can check out this awesome tennis ball bat on Amazon!

Differences Between Leather Bat and Tennis Ball Bat

1. The blade of the tennis ball bat has a wider and longer blade compared to the leather bat, however, the overall length of the bat is the same.

2. With the blade length of the leather bat being slightly shorter, it has a longer handle length when compared to the tennis leather bat.

3. Also, with a much shorter handle on the tennis ball bat, it feels heavier in hand and gives off a slight change in the balance of the tennis ball bat.

4. On the price level, generally, the leather ball bats are much more expensive as the majority of the ideal leather bats require a more durable willow wood like the English willow.

Are there any Similarities?

Yes! the leather bat and the tennis ball bats share a lot more similarities than differences.

  1. Obviously both are used in a game of cricket
  2. Depending on the type of wood, they can be cared for and maintained the same way.
  3. They both have a similar form that is a flat wooden blade with a deep V-shaped ridged on the back and a handle.
  4. They are both mainly made of willow wood.
  5. After the bat is purchased both bats require the fibres to be knocked-in and the process can be the same for both.
  6. The bats have the same length and cannot be more than 38 inches or 965 mm long and 4.25 inches or 108 mm wide. The weight is also often similar or may vary between 1.1 and 1.4 kg.
  7. All bats are covered with various stickers representing the company the cricketer is advertising for.
  8. Both bats can get damage even without usage which is caused by drying.
  9. Under no circumstances are the bats used in match conditions less than two weeks following the date of purchase.

How The Leather Bat and Tennis Ball Bat Damage and What to do

Like I mentioned before, all cricket bats are made from willow and as such, the bats will deteriorate eventually. Well although we can avoid the damage, knowing what to do will help keep your bat going for a long time. Here are some expected damages;

  1. You can expect your blade to break as a result of the willow excessively drying out. For this kind of damage, you may want to replace the bat.
  2. Another is the handle breaking. When the handle breaks you can see an expert and it can be repaired.
  3. Cracks to the toe or shoulder blade, caused by striking off a ‘Yorker’ although does not affect the performance of the bat can be repaired. You can also get a toe guard to avoid future cracks. Toes that are already damaged can be fixed to an extent by binding with cotton tape and then sealing it off with an air-drying lacquer
  4. Water or moisture can cause the bat to swell and shrink at the toe area of the blade and will split after drying.

Do’s and Don’t of Leather Bats and Tennis Ball Bats


  1. Do Knocking-in when you first purchase the bat
  2. Secure the toe area of the bat with a toe guard
  3. You can also buy anti-scuff for the face of the bat
  4. Do quick blade regular and don’t go into a game if you see cracks on it
  5. Do regular minor repairs if possible after each game
  6. Service your leather bat and tennis ball bats at least once a year
  7. Remember to remove old anti-scuffs, sand the face, re-oil, and get a new anti-scuff.


  1. Keep your bats from places with extreme heat like the car boots. Cricket bats should be stored in a place with less than 55F
  2. Avoid buying cheap sub-standard balls. Check out some high-quality leather balls here or here for high-quality tennis balls on Amazon!
  3. Don’t play with a damaged bat
  4. Avoid damp conditions that cause the bats to shrink
  5. Try not to drive Yorkers
  6. Don’t over oil the bat
  7. And lastly, try as much as you can to avoid excessive mistimed shots

Related Question

How do you select the best cricket bat?

  1. If you’re purchasing over the internet look through the sizing guide and it is easy to use because it will give you different heights and the suitable size bats.
  2. Place the cricket bat to the side of your leg and drop your hands on it and make sure the top handle of the bat comes up to your wrist.
  3. You should also check if the weight of the bat is ideal for you by holding up the bat in front of you with one hand. If you are able to hold it steady and still then it’s perfect for you. The weight of the bat is very important because it affects how you will swing.
  4. Lastly, make sure the bat feels great in your hands and that you are very comfortable.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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