Are you new to the game or have just bought your child their first cricket bat? If so, there are a few things you should know about cricket bat care. By following some of the basic cricket bat care guidelines below, you have a better chance of keeping your cricket bat in tip-top shape for longe
However, we are honest souls and there are some harsh realities that you should be aware of when purchasing a cricket bat.
PREPARE FOR USE:
DO: With either a bat mallet or a ball and sock, knock-in the cricket bat for a minimum of six hours with greater force being progressively applied throughout the process. Don’t try to kill it though!
DO NOT: Make sure you do not use your new cricket bat straight away in a game or practice session unless it is a pre-prepared cricket bat (although some knocking in is still recommended). If you do not knock it in properly then the cricket bat will have a high risk of breaking. Do not just focus your attention on the middle of the bat; make sure you knock in the sides and toe of the blade.
DO: Gently apply a small amount of linseed oil on all parts of the cricket bat except the splice (the triangular pieces that connects the handle to the cricket bat’s main body), at least three times a season.
DO NOT: over-oil; this can really damage the blade. If you’re unsure then ask a more advanced cricketer at your club.
DO: Purchase a toe guard to protect the bottom of the cricket bat.
DO: Store in a cool, dry place, such as a shed or garage where a small amount of moisture can be absorbed from the atmosphere.
DO NOT: Store in areas that get hot (near radiators, boilers, windows, fire places etc). This causes the wood to dry out which can make it vulnerable to damage.
PLEASE NOTE: Every delivery from the bowler that hits the toe or edge of the bat has a chance of breaking it. Even if you have followed the knocking-in process meticulously, bats are not designed to last forever: there is no guaranteed duration of time that a cricket bat will remain in full working order.
VARIABLES INCLUDE: the quality of the cricket bat, the weight of the cricket bat (weightier blades can often last longer than light ones) and the care in which the cricket bat is treated.
FOR EXPERIENCED CRICKETERS
For the advanced cricketer, a cricket bat is your pride and joy that needs to be protected. By applying the tips outlined in our batting care guide below, you can help keep your bat fit for purpose for longer.
No-one wants to shell out for a new cricket bat every season, so take a little time out to ensure that enough TLC is given to your blade – you never know, you may even notch a few more runs because of it!
KNOCKING IN YOUR CRICKET BAT
You already know you should knock a cricket bat in but do you know why? Knocking your cricket bat in with either a mallet or an old ball in a sock makes the fibres of the willow blade compress and bind more firmly, to help protect your bat from the impact of a cricket ball. You’re a serious player so this should be given time – ideally somewhere between 6 and 10 hours in total.
Even the pros can play false strokes, and bats are prone to breaking. It is therefore imperative that you make sure you knock-in the weak areas of the cricket bat – the edges and toe. These areas need to become hardened through the knocking-in process to help safeguard the bat from miss-hit shots – don’t just focus on the middle. The edges should start to become more rounded and compact.
TOP TIP: Use the new bat to give soft catches to a close fieldsman. This is a lot less tedious than sitting in your living room with a ball and sock!
LIKELY CAUSES OF DAMAGE TO YOUR CRICKET BAT
DRY BAT: Do not store your cricket bat in a location that is likely to get hot (areas close to radiators, fires, airing cupboards or in the car boot), as you do not want the willow to become brittle and dry out.
TOP TIP: Store your cricket bat in a shed or garage – it takes kindly to locations where a little moisture from the atmosphere can be absorbed.
TOE SWELLS: Water and dampness can easily find its way into the wood fibres of the toe.
TOP TIP: Apply a toe guard before use. If the bottom of the bat is already swollen, place the bat into a vice and cushion both sides together. Leave to naturally dry and knock out the swollen area.
Be aware that a bowler’s delivery that hits the toe or edge of the bat has a chance of breaking the willow. Even if you have followed the knocking-in process meticulously, cricket bats are not designed to last forever and do not come with any guarantee of duration.
SURFACE CRACKS: These are commonplace on cricket bats as willow is not manufactured. If you’ve followed the knocking in process well, these should be minimalized, but this scarring does not drastically affect the cricket bat’s performance.
HOW TO OIL YOUR CRICKET BAT THE RIGHT WAY
We’ve seen a lot of bats sent in for repair that have been over-oiled, which can damage the food fibres. In fact, you’re better off not giving your bat a drop than to over-use the stuff.
Polyarmour blades or those with protective covers do not need oiling, although it’s a good idea to apply some to the toe if you do not have a toe guard.
- Apply raw linseed cricket bat oil to a soft rag and apply a light coat to all sides of the bat but avoiding the splice.
- Things could get a little messy, so put some newspapers down or carry out the procedure in the garage.
- Make sure the cricket bat is kept in a horizontal position between and during oilings.
- Wait a fortnight before lightly sanding with fine sandpaper and then apply a second light coat of oil to all parts of the blade, except for the back and splice.
TOP TIP: Desired results are best achieved by frequent applications of light oiling, rather than by one excessive application.