The primary aim of this study was to compare the rebound characteristics of wooden and composite cricket bats. The rebound characteristics of two 'experimental' bats manufactured from composite material were compared with three English willow bats and one Kashmir willow bat. The bats were tested using a specially designed testing rig, which propelled a 156 g Kookaburra cricket ball at three impact speeds: fast-medium, 67 km x h(-1); fast, 101 km x h(-1); and express, 131 km x h(-1) on to the bats mounted in position so that the ball impacts occurred at the position where the blade of the bats was the thickest. The rebound characteristics of the bats were calculated by measuring the approach and rebound speeds of the ball as it passed through a light beam positioned a short distance away from the point of impact. The statistical software package SAS was used to test for significant differences (p < 0.05) between the average rebound characteristics of the bats. Further, Scheffé's method was used as a post hoc comparison to determine whether differences existed between the composite and willow bats. When the composite and traditional willow bats were compared, the results showed no significant differences between the three average approach speeds, while the composite bats showed significantly smaller rebound speeds and coefficient of restitution at all three approach speeds. Thus, the rebound characteristics of the composite bats were significantly less than the traditionally designed English willow wooden bats and would not enhance performance by allowing the batsman to hit the ball harder, assuming all other factors, such as bat speed, mass distribution and the impact point, were the same for the bats. Further study is required to determine the physical properties of composite and wooden bats to enhance their impact characteristics.