Looking after your bat . . .
Looking after your bat
You’ve invested in your cricket bat – now you want it to last. There are a few things to remember:
- Bats last longer if you look after them well
- Cheap balls break bats
- Effective ‘Knocking in’ will improve the performance of your bat and will prolong its life
Knocking-In is the process of preparing your cricket bat to be used for the first time. When you knock in a cricket bat you compress the fibres of the willow and knit them together, so they become tough enough to withstand the impact of a cricket ball. Effective “knocking-in” will dramatically improve performance and increase the lifespan of the bat.
Here's how to do it properly – Don’t rush it!
- Get yourself a bat mallet, designed specifically for knocking-in cricket bats. Some people use a ball in a sock, but this isn’t nearly as good, and we wouldn’t recommend it.
- Begin by lightly hitting the face of the bat, working up over time to hit harder. When the face is complete, the mallet should no longer be leaving marks on your bat. Work in sections, maybe an inch at a time, but keep going until the mallet no longer leaves a dent in the bat. It will take around 1-2 hours with a bat mallet to knock in your bat properly.
- When you have completed the face, you can move on to the edges of the bat. DON’T hit the edges of the bat directly or the toe of the bat. The best way to knock-in the edges is to try and copy what happens when you edge it. Replicate the glancing blows the bat would receive by ‘flicking’ the flick the edges of the bat with the mallet at around 45°
- Make sure you pay particular attention to the toe and edges of the bat, as these are more susceptible to damage.
- Do not hit the back or the sides of the bat, or above the splice (roughly the sticker area on the front). Keep it to where you’d hit the ball in a game situation.
You’re now ready to play a few shots:
- When you have finished knocking the bat in at home, you should start by practicing in the nets with an old (but good quality) cricket ball. Don’t try and whack it too hard!
- Add a few throw downs, short catches or slip catching practice to start to ‘work’ the bat
- Start hitting longer catches in catching practice
- Then move on to normal practice play and try to play a few more shots – still with a good quality, old ball
Your bat is now ready.
Oiling or waxing stops the willow from drying out and therefore greatly reduces the risk of cracking. If you are buying a covered bat, or one fitted with an anti-scuff sheet, there is less oiling needed as these bats are able to retain their moisture – but please don’t overlook the exposed areas around the edges and toe of the bat. For natural faced bats, apply a light coat of oil or wax, to the blade and edges, using a soft rag or your finger.
You can also wax / oil the back, but this isn't essential. Be careful not to wax / oil the splice, handle, stickers and never stand the bat in oil. It is also very important not to over wax / oil the bat as this can increase the weight and cause ‘wood rot’.
Cricket Bat Maintenance
The lifespan of a cricket bat varies, and is dramatically effected by how well the bat is knocked in and how regularly it is oiled. If you have a covered bat, we recommend that you oil the exposed areas during the off season, or any other period of significant non-cricketing activity – on average once a year.
All of our bats come with a bat face cover ‘as standard’, and fibre glass tape on the edges, as well as a ‘toe protector’. We believe that this is best for the bats and makes them last longer and perform better.
An annual maintenance / refurbishment is advisable, but depends on how much you’ve used it.
Unless you are experienced in repairing bats, then leave it to the experts. The manufacturers are always the best at repairing their own bats, but for some of the simpler work, a refurb or some general TLC, then we recommend Jones the Bat, who are based in Newport, South Wales.
Finally – Happy Batting – we hope you enjoy using your bat!