Bat review: Slazenger V600 Ultimate

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A quality bat is surely the most treasured and coveted item in an international cricketer's coffin, and in Slazenger's V600 Ultimate, impressionable left-handers and stickler right-handers alike have found common ground.

A quality bat is surely the most treasured and coveted item in an international cricketer's coffin, and in Slazenger's V600 Ultimate, impressionable left-handers and stickler right-handers alike have found common ground.

Modest in appearance among its numerous new peers, including a slew of brazenly branded bats emerging from the sub-continent, the V600 Ultimate lets the willow rather than stickers do the talking.

No false promises of 'Booming Boundaries' and 'Pulsating Power' here, instead simple, understated, realistic logos – insisting the proof is in the punch, not the packaging.

Decidedly light at two pounds, 12 ounces (one kilogram, 24 grams), the short handle is refreshingly lithe compared to some of the brick-esque blocks governing the Twenty20 market recently. Veteran South African Jacques Kallis, a consistent Indian Premier League recruit but a Test match purist at heart, will attest to this.

Ticking all the boxes in its finest English willow construction, contoured edge profile, over-sized sweet spot, sharp spine and balanced pickup, the V600 Ultimate largely upstages its competitors with a subtly bowed blade. The arch is faint, indeed, but confirms its superiority throughout.

We dispersed the bat among a few local club cricketers, and then escalated the trial to the peripherals of provincial competition. Consensus prevailed across the board: beyond the PR speak and possible propaganda that comes with product reviews, the V600 Ultimate is a class apart.

Likened to the closing throes of Slazenger's older range, its latest brainchild is remarkably versatile. One particularly ambitious tail-ender cherished "reward in distance for some rare timing", while a dogged opening batsman appreciated the additional four millimetres of edge. The extra "meat allowed for greater confidence on the pull," he insisted.

Standard with a tapered toe guard and already knocked in, the V600 Ultimate isn't a high maintenance bat. Owners, however, should soon be rewarded in a run-heavy relationship – understanding its solidity against fast bowlers, comprehending its trustworthiness against spinners.

<i>The V600 Ultimate is available from slazenger.com, and while it usually retails for £349.99, is currently on sale for £219.99</i>.

<b>Jonhenry Wilson</b>

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