Throughout the world, premium cricket bats are predominately made from two types of willow -salix alba var.caerulea, known commonly as cricket bat willow and Kashmire willow from India. The clefts from these timbers produce bats which vary greatly in quality and performance.
The willow considered worldwide to be superior for the manufacture of quality cricket bats is salix alba var. caerulea. This willow best suits playing requirements because it is resilient, tough and also very light. It also has aesthetic appeal to cricketers because of its pale colour.
First-class cricketers around the world use bats made from salix alba var. caerulea exclusively. In countries such as Australia and England there has been a total rejection of any other willow bat for use in competitive cricket.
Despite the unrivalled quality of salix alba var. caerulea timber, Kashmire willow bats manufactured in India have a major share of the world market. This situation has resulted from the fact that the market share of salix alba var. caerulea bats has been completely dependent on supply from United Kingdom willow growers. There has been a growing shortage in this supply and as a result the price of UK willow clefts has risen substantially. The supply of Kashmire willow, which is considered to be significantly inferior to the UK variety, is also reducing each year.