By Dave J
The sheer volume of cricket kit available online can make it really difficult to figure out what you should purchase.
The following guide contains my personal thoughts and basic principles to buying based on my own experiences and wasting hundreds of pounds over the years! That being said, I am speaking from the perspective of having two children who absolutely love cricket. Suppose you're not sure whether your child will continue with the sport. In that case, you can always buy cheaper, with eBay, Facebook Market Place, and Gumtree being excellent places to find high-quality, often lightly used, junior kit. Personally, I would choose this option than buying new from the likes of Sports Direct but that's not to say the kit they have won't do the job.
My principles for buying and storing cricket kit for children:
Size down not up, if in between – Rather counterintuitive this one, as most of the time we all buy things for our kids to grow into. But going a size smaller (with protective gear and bats) will likely mean lighter which in turn will likely mean easier to use. Ultimately this will result in much more enjoyment for the youngster.
Buy branded – It may cost you up to 20% more to purchase the gear but you will sell it for a lot more when it comes to size up. Steer clear of Sports Direct - Slazenger if you can, as this can become essentially worthless not long after it is purchased. Whilst cheap, it will end up costing you more as you move through the sizes.
Don’t scrimp on a Helmet – Sounds obvious but its not the part of the body you want to leave open to risk. My personal preference is for a Masuri helmet but Shrey also have a good reputation. These helmets will also be lighter and more comfortable for the wearer.
Don’t let the kit get damp over the winter – Cricket gear can be quite large but try to ensure it is stored somewhere where it will not get damp. The damp, mixed with sweat from the season before can create mouldy items really quickly. This means you’ll have to buy all new kit the next season and will destroy that eBay resale value.
Buy the minimum but be prepared for more – Below, I have listed the minimum kit required to get started along with some best buy suggestions. However, I received a piece of advice from a coach who was watching my son bat very early on in his cricketing career. His advice was to “cover them up” and what this was referring to was all the other protective items that can be bought. This proved to be very useful in my son's case as he was worried about being hit on the elbow. A quick arm guard later and his confidence was transformed.
Upgrade your bats through eBay – If your child takes to the game then it can be a good idea to invest in a better quality bat. Switching from Kashmir Willow to English Willow will make a huge difference, but the price can be 3-5 times higher. eBay can be a fantastic resource for finding high-quality junior bats which have seen little use. Once you have zoned in a favourite brand or two, finding them can be quite straightforward. Look in the autumn for some of the best deals and biggest supplies.
Minimum Protective Kit Suggestion
Other/Optional Protective Kit
Dedicated Cricket Shoes with Toe Protector
Protective Kit Buyers Guide
You can pay anything from £15 to £130 for a good quality set of leg pads, but usually, something in the £25-£40 will be more than adequate. The slight upgrade in price over the bare minimum leads to better quality and significant weight reductions.
Anything from New Balance, GM and Gray Nicholls is good with the independent British makers Masuri, Newberry, Chase, Keeley, BTC, Salix and M&H, making high quality but usually more expensive items.
Adult Pads usually come in RH and LH varieties; however, this is not always the case with Junior sizes. Be sure to check before you buy.
My Absolute favorite are the Aero P3 Leg Guards, which cost around £50. My son has had several pairs and they are amazingly light, super protective and really fast for running in. These are the one item on this entire list I would recommend to anyone who will listen and are ambidextrous to boot! - Aero P3 Junior Legguards Ambi : Kent Cricket Direct
Keep this one simple. Gloves take a pasting and may need replacing more than once a season. Consider adding a pair of cotton batting inner gloves to extend the lifespan. Still, you may find your youngsters' hands are growing anyways.
Anything from the same brands of New Balance, GM or Gray Nicholls will suffice (Masuri are excellent by expensive at £55) and suggest paying anywhere between £15 and £25 for a pair.
Aero make a great pair of V3 Batting Gloves for around the £18 mark, but these can be very hard to find in stock anywhere.
Please remember that batting gloves come in RH and LH versions, so be sure to get the right one for your child.
These come in one and two-legged versions and the one-legged variety can be had for around £10. The two padded versions are a little better at protecting both thighs from a quick ball that bounces a little more than usual.
Again, these can sometimes come in RH & LH varieties so please check.
And in my final plug for Aero cricket, their thigh pads are some of the very best around and worn by a lot of juniors. They are called strippers, but please be assured they are really good thigh pads. Expect to pay around £25 for these - Aero P3 Stripper V7.0 (Junior Model) Lower Body Protector (talentcricket.co.uk)
Sizing guide for these can be found here: Sizing Guide (aerocricket.com)
As I wrote earlier, a good quality helmet is as reassuring to the parent as it is the player. My overall recommendation here would be Masuri, but I am told that Shrey ones are equally as good. They are a little more expensive but should last a couple of seasons.
The whole Masuri junior helmet range is great and can be found here: Junior Cricket Helmets | Masuri UK. They are widely available, so it is worth shopping around to find the best price.
Nothing much to say here, apart from an essential item to add to the kit bag. Not very expensive but completely necessary. Available in both boy and girl versions.
Phew, hopefully, the above information is helpful as you embark on your cricket journey with your youngsters. Over time I am sure you will find and develop your own preferences for kit, and I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and feedback - there is always something new to learn!