How To Look After Your Cricket Bat August 7, 2019 – Posted in: General
Getting a new bat is always exciting, and if you’re anything like us, we can’t wait to get out there and christen our new bats properly! However, if we want to get the most out of the performance and longevity of our bats, sadly, we can’t just run out onto the field and start hitting sixes straight away, as much as we’d like to!
A cricket bat is a delicate piece of equipment, and should be treated with respect, no matter what level you’re playing at. In this blog post, we’ll give you some of our favourite tips and tricks to help make sure your new bat doesn’t just play well now, but for years to come as well!
Oiling Your Bat
First things first, if your bat is ‘uncovered’ when you buy it, you’ll need to oil it, using linseed or specialist cricket bat oil, to help keep the moisture of the wood in the bat and prevent it from drying out. A dried out bat is far more likely to crack and split, but you should also be careful not to over oil as well! You should apply light coats of bat oil to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade before allowing the bat a full 24 hours to dry!
After 24 hours you can wipe off any excess and lightly sand the bat. Then, add another light coat to the face of the bat and let it dry. You should do this two or three times for the best results.
Many bats will now come partly treated, meaning you don’t have to oil the blade, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook yet! Even treated bats usually need around six hours of work before they’re ready to play, otherwise all the time and effort you spent choosing your bat will go to waste!
Knocking In Your Bat
Knocking in your new bat is absolutely vital. When you knock in your bat, the fibres of the wood are compressed together to form a hard barrier, and protect the bat from the impact of the ball.
You can use a specialist mallet to knock in your bat, or an old cricket ball works well too. You should start very gently hitting the bat in all the areas you’d hit the ball in a game. Then, go over the bat again and again, knocking gently, but with an increasing amount of force as you go over the bat. Don’t forget the edges of your bat!
As you hit the bat, the fibres of the wood are pushed together without hitting hard enough to cause any damage, which will leave you with a stronger and better performing bat, as well as increasing its longevity.
When you think you’ve finished knocking in, try a few shorter, gentler hits to see if it’s ready. If the seam of the ball marks the bat, it’s back to the drawing board for more knocking in! Do this until your bat stands up to some good defensive plays without any marks.
At Big Five, we have our own line of professional grade cricket bats that come pre-knocked in, so you can save even more time in getting out on the field!
Maintaining Your Bat
After all of that, it’s finally time to get out there on the field and play with your new bat. To make sure it lasts for as long as possible and gives you the best performance, follow our advice for maintaining your bat:
- Don’t let it get too wet, especially the toe! If you can’t avoid the rain, dry your bat off as soon as possible afterwards.
- If you see cracks or scuffs appearing on your bat, don’t worry, this is normal if you don’t have anti-scuff facing. Just sand them out and apply a thin layer of oil and your bat will be good as new!
- Twice a season you should stop and give your bat some TLC – gently sand it and apply a light coat of oil to keep it moisturised and protected. If you’re playing year round, try and do this a little more often to keep your bat in its best possible shape.
To find out more about cricket bat maintenance, or to get yourself all the equipment you need to look after your bat properly, come and visit Big 5 Cricket and Hockey in our Sandbach store, or take a look at our online equipment store today!