1. Baselayers – We all know that any warm and sunny weather before the season commences will most certainly deteriorate to cold, wet and blustery as soon as we arrive at the ground. So avoid the shivers and keep your muscles warm and loose whatever the weather.
2. Whites – The much-loved term for cricket playing wear including a shirt, trousers, jumper and/or sleeveless slip-over. Sometimes the strongest detergents just won’t get them clean, and playing in soggy clothing after scrambling around in the rain getting the covers on is never fun, so be sure to double up your performance clothing wardrobe. Gray-Nicolls and Adidas white are you go to brands for whites in our view.
3. Socks – You may get a fine for wearing anything other than white ones but the most important thing is not necessarily the colour. There are thick padded cricket socks that are both warm and protective; as well as breathable compression ones that keep you energised and light on our feet. Be sure to find your style and avoid the cheaper tube socks - the price may appeal but come match day, nothing else will.
4. Helmet – It’s the single most important piece of protection you wear so make sure yours is up to scratch. Ensure there are no signs of damage from being stored away throughout the winter or taking any knocks facing the short stuff at indoor nets. If a new one is required, then make sure you find one that meets the new regulations and is tested with the ball size you play with (Jnr or Snr). We recommend Masuri as your first port of call. For additional protection and peace of mind, the Masuri Stem Guard is well worth the purchase.
5. Gloves – The last piece of kit you put on before going out to bat and the one that can have the most impact on your mind set. Fit is everything so try them on for size and be confident in your choice of protection system, be it the flexible segmented style or the protective sausage finger style. Salix has an excellent look and feel this season on segmented gloves. For sausage style, take a look at Gunn and Moore Original LE.
6. Pads – There’s more variations and options for leggaurds than ever before; but it doesn’t need to be a minefield. Traditional cane or modern foam panel designs are a personal preference with both offering protection and flexibility in relatively equal measure. So look to the price to guide you to the pads that meet your playing level.
7. Abdo Guard (Box) – An essential in every kit bag, yet strangely the most forgotten item that is so reluctantly borrowed! Splashing out [no pun intended] on a good box is not going to break the bank but can make all the difference in defending those crown jewels. Regardless of how good your box is, unless it’s kept in place securely then at best, it’s just an irritating lump of plastic.. So make sure you’ve got your jock strap or shorts too.
8. Body Protection – The all-in-one body protection pieces are becoming ever more popular due to the ease of use and the additional hip protection they offer. However some prefer the flexibility of using individual thigh guard and inner thigh guard pieces. But if you are coming up against some real quicks or playing on particularly fruity wickets then don’t forget your arm and chest guards as well.
9. Shoes – Whether you are playing out on the wicket or training on the astro, make sure your footwear suits your needs. If you bowl more than you bat then look for a thicker supportive midsole to get you through the overs. For the twinkle toed batsmen then the lighter more responsive shoes maybe a better option.
10. Bat - Your weapon of choice can be key to how successful your season is, so start it with the right shape or profiled bat. The middle position (sweet-spot) can vary from low down to high up and everything in between. So if you’re playing surfaces are generally hard and bouncy, then the higher middled bats will have you stacking up the runs. Whereas the opposite applies for slow and low bouncing wickets. New Balance looks to be the hot ‘go to’ brand this season.
11. Bag – Last but not least is the mode of transport for all this gear. Give yours the once over and if the wheels are coming loose, the zips have gone or that side pocket you always over fill has finally burst then get your new bag sorted now. Before the pain of losing your favourite pair of sunglasses or crippling your shoulder dragging your bag down an endless gravel path with just one strap becomes a reality. Failing that, take a look at the new style cricket duffle bags from the likes of Gray-Nicolls, Kookaburra and Gunn and Moore.