'If you take my shoe and a $150 shoe and cut it down in half, it does exactly the same thing,' he said.
Cricket bats don't really equate to basketball shoes. The quality and rarity of the wood, the skill of the batmaker, the intrinsic individuality, prevent it. But there's probably a similar emotional investment. And there's a certain similarity to the financial investment, too. Today I made a random, ad hoc chart of bats used and/or endorsed by Ashes players*:
Ricky Ponting Kookaburra Kahuna: £342.99
Gunn & Moore Icon DXM [Ravi Bopara]: £334.99
Adidas Pellara Elite [Kevin Pietersen]: £329.99
Adidas Incurza Elite [Ian Bell]: £329.99
Gray-Nicolls Ignite Pro-Performance [Andrew Strauss]: £324.99
Puma Iridium GTR [Andrew Flintoff]: £320.00
All of those manufacturers offer cheaper versions, made of lesser wood. But there are plenty of smaller batmakers who will make the equivalent for less, it's just that the players don't endorse them.
This isn't a criticism per se. The best are entitled to the best, and to the commercial opportunity. But imagine if someone like Marbury walked out in a Test match with something a little different.
* Stated recommended retail prices. Most shops knock a sizeable chunk off.