Thursday, 29 December 2011

Pad comparisons

For reasons that escape me I have arrived at the point where, ludicrously, I own no less than four sets of batting pads. Since they are each in their way rather different, I thought someone somewhere might benefit from reading my verdict on each:

Slazenger County batting pads (2010)
These were the first pads I bought and for a first-time cricketer they're a reasonable buy. They're pretty basic pads and the ambidextrous design screams their cheapness but they do the job and aren't too heavy or uncomfortable, although they do wobble about a bit when you're running. You'd want to trade up as soon as you could, so if you're expecting to play for several years perhaps it would make more sense to skip them and move on to something more long-term.
Comfort 7/10
Protection 7/10
Weight 4/10 (915 grams per pad)
Looks 5/10
Price 8/10 (£30)

Slazenger Ultimate batting pads (2010)
These top-of-the-range traditional pads are undoubtedly good-looking and very effective in protection terms, but I was rather disappointed with their sheer bulk. They are comfortable, hard-wearing and have low bounce but for me they simply don't seem impressive enough to fully  justify the price tag. Still, I suppose if you've got your heart set on a pair of normal pads that do a good job and won't stand out too much when you walk out to bat then these are ideal.
Comfort 9/10
Protection 10/10
Weight 3/10 (945gpp)
Looks 9/10
Price 4/10 (£80)

Aero P2 batting pads (2010)
Certainly the most outlandish-looking pads on the market, they do seem to have put a great deal more thought into these than any mainstream cricket equipment manufacturer ever has. There's an outer layer of firm foam over a softer second layer, with thin cloth bolsters next to the leg which fail to disguise the rigidity of the pads, making them feel a little uncomfortable. The pads are lighter than normal pads and the protection is outstanding, but the fact remains that they are simply too strange for me to ever use in a match so I only use them at nets, and one wonders how the lack of any guiding knee-roll would play on an umpire's mind when asked to adjudge an LBW shout.
Comfort 5/10
Protection 9/10
Weight 9/10 (550gpp on average)
Looks 3/10
Price 6/10 (£50)

Morrant International Ultralite batting pads
There's something very charismatic about these pads, they don't look strange enough to be embarrassing but nevertheless have a very distinctive look about them which makes them easy to spot. They're unbelievably light, of course, although in original spec they have a couple of irritating features: over-rigid bolsters and annoyingly pointless rubber logos on the straps. I've modified my own pair slightly and I'm extremely happy with them now. The protection is adequate without the bullet-proof feel of the Slaz Ultimates, but running between the wickets in them is so incredibly easy, and they do draw a few admiring glances. Two unavoidable issues remain though: Firstly their furry surface attracts hair and dirt like anything, and secondly they do seem to have quite a lot of bounce in them, so bat-pad deflections may be a problem. They're a little pricey, but I think they earn their keep. A dozen Indian Test legends can't be wrong...
Comfort 7/10
Protection 7/10
Weight 10/10 (450gpp as sold)
Looks 9/10
Price 4/10 (£80)

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