What is pick-up? Great question! The all important “pick-up” of a bat is a concept that hard to explain but critical to the selection of a cricket bat. It is the feeling each batsman has about how light a bat is to raise in their backlift before playing a shot. The feeling will vary from player to player and depends on a number of different factors.
The Theory of Pick-Up
In basic theoretical terms, the ease of the pick-up is determined by how little torque is required to rotate the mass of the bat around the fulcrum. The fulcrum in this case is your top hand on the bat handle. The force to create the torque is applied by your bottom hand. See the image below to get a visual idea of the concept.
Pick-Up in Practice
Now that can be a tough one to understand. So in practical terms, the pick-up of a cricket bat is the lightness you feel in your bottom hand and really depends on the mass of the bottom of the bat. Generally lighter, narrower bats need less force to lift and therefore have a lighter pick-up.
But these bats also have less power so bat makers often play with the balance of the weight by bringing the thickest part of the bat or “meat” closer to the handle. The closer the mass is to your top hand the easier it is to lift and so has a lighter pick-up. But be careful here, if the mass is too high up the bat, so is the sweet spot and you will lose power on your driving shots that typically hit lower on the bat.
The Final Word
A fast pick-up is something that is hard to define but you know when you feel it. And when combined with sweet hitting power, it is the pinnacle of cricket bat design that every batsman searches for. A bat with a fast pick-up can improve your shot making and performance at the crease. But it almost always comes at the expense of weight and power. So when looking to buy a new cricket bat, try some out, hold them in your hands and play some shots with them. You need to feel the balance as you go through your backlift to find the right combination of maneuverability and size that complements your style of play. Good luck!
Do you want to know more about pick-up and what makes a great cricket bat? Check out our Ultimate Cricket Bat Selection Guide.