What Forced ICC to Change Size of Cricket Bat


Most rules of the cricket as it exists today owe their existence to incidents from past. One of them is, “Size of Cricket Bat”

The  Cricket match between Chertsey and Hambledon in 1771(23rd Sep and 24th Sep), a batsman from Chertsey, White walked out to take strike with a bat as wide as the wicket. A record of how he played this inning which is unavailable, but his team lost by only one run after Hambledon had put 218 on board.

The very first cricket bat

Before that dispute, bats were shaped more like hockey sticks.

Cricket bats – from the 1740s to the 1900s
Cricket bats – from the 1740s to the 1900s (Image Source: Scroll.in)

Shock White contribution to cricket

Shock White ’, whose birth’s date and death’s date, is known to have lived in Brentford. He is the culprit behind this incident, named the ‘Monster Bat incident in  1771’.

White’s action created a sensation that lasted even after the match, as the cricket community was – for the first time ever – forced to think about the size of cricket bat.

An imagination of the 1771 ‘Monster Bat’ incident
An imagination of the 1771 ‘Monster Bat’ incident

Legendary fast bowler Thomas who played for Hambledon’s side , and was the leading voice in the protest. He submitted a formal protest, signed by himself, his captain R Nyren, and the greatest batsman of the 18th century, J Small.

Administrators were quick to realise the size of cricket bat , size was essential for having competitive cricket matches. In 1774, the Laws of Cricket were modified to that cricket bats would be roughly parallel with a max width of 4.25 – a rule that stands to this date.

The first ever mention of a cricket bat is from an event which caused a death of a fielder in 1624. An Law was conducted after a fielder was killed during a match, after a batsman had reportedly hit the victim on his head with his bat to prevent him from taking catch.

The 1624 incident is also possibly the root of Law # 37, ‘obstructing the field‘ which has been in the news recently. There has been a long debate on whether a batsman deserves to be given out.