It's just not cricket... or is it? Cambridge University's new bamboo bats challenge the willow

“The sound of leather on willow” could soon be the “The sound of leather on bamboo” if two Cambridge University researchers get their way.

Dr Darshil Shah and Ben Tinkler-Davies have come up with a cricket bat made from bamboo which they believe could revolutionise the sport, particularly in countries where the game is currently growing in popularity.

"It's stiffer, which means the ball is going to fly off the bat better. It's harder, which means you don't have to spend hours knocking it in and it's also a lot more sustainable," Ben Tinkler-Davis added.

The bat is about 40% heavier than a normal bat but it's hoped further modifications could reduce that.

Also, under current rules bats have to be made from wood and bamboo is classed as a grass so some negotiations with the MCC will be needed.

Cricketers at the university have been trying out the new bat and they have been mostly impressed.

Sam Pritchard and Joy Lisney have been trying out the new bamboo bat Credit: ITV Anglia

"It was interesting. It was a different kind of weight than you'd expect from a willow bat, it's about 40% heavier so there are some adjustments you've got to make at the start. But it felt good, it definitely felt on a similar level to a normal bat. It was good to use," Sam Pritchard said.

"If you get the right line it's actually got a nice swing, I also felt like it had a bigger middle than a normal willow bat. I felt like it was pinging off all parts of the bat, but for me it's probably a little bit too heavy," Joy Lisney concluded.

It's claimed the bamboo blade can hit the ball harder, and doesn't cause more vibrations than willow. But perhaps its main selling point is sustainability because bamboo is fast growing and freely available in many countries where cricket is taking off.

"We should welcome it as cricketers and cricket lovers. but it means there will be a shortage in willow, and there already it," Dr Darshil Shah added.