MCC gives thumbs-down to bamboo bats, says they are 'illegal' under current laws

"Sustainability is a relevant topic for MCC and indeed cricket, and this angle of willow alternatives should also be considered"

A research study suggested the traditional willow used to make bats could be replaced by bamboo to increase their sustainability, May 10, 2021

A study suggested that willow could be replaced by bamboo in bats to increase their sustainability  •  AFP via Getty Images

The MCC has turned down the idea of bats made with bamboo instead of willow, saying that it would be "illegal" under current laws, which says bats must be made only of wood and also bans lamination of the blade in bats meant for senior cricketers. But the guardians of the laws of the game did welcome the experiment, saying that "this angle of willow alternatives should also be considered".
A study by the University of Cambridge suggested that cricket bats made of bamboo offered a more sustainable alternative than the traditional ones made with willow. According to Darshil Shah, one of the researchers, the bamboo bat "was stiffer, harder and stronger than those made of willow, although more brittle". "It is heavier than a willow bat, and we are looking to optimise that," Shah was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
But Law 5.3.2 states that the blade of the bat must consist solely of wood, so it would require a change in the law for bamboo - which is a grass - to be considered.
"… any potential amendments to the Law would need to carefully take this into consideration, particularly the concept of the bat producing greater power," an MCC statement said. "The Club has worked hard to ensure that bats aren't too powerful, taking steps in 2008 and 2017 to limit the materials and the size of the bats for this purpose.
"Sustainability is a relevant topic for MCC and indeed cricket, and this angle of willow alternatives should also be considered. With the researchers stating that the most suitable types of bamboo grow abundantly across China and that low-cost production could make bamboo bats a viable and ethical alternative to willow, this could provide a pertinent angle for further research and the possibility of reducing the cost of producing bats in different areas of the world."
The statement added that the MCC would discuss the topic at the next laws sub-committee meeting.