- Cricket bats are made from willow, and need preparation before they can be used
- There are three key steps to “knocking in” and testing a new bat
- You should “knock in” a cricket bat for at least 6 hours before use
- Cricket bat oil maintains moisture in the wood, reducing chances of cracks
- 2 - 3 coats of linseed oil will treat a bat for use
- Over-oiling a bat can be as damaging as not oiling!
Cricket Bats: What You Need to Know
Cricket bats are made of natural willow wood. From bruising to dents, wear and tear will appear on a bat from sustained use. When damage occurs, bats will crack. In order to prepare your bat for use, it is important to treat and “knock in” a cricket bat to build up the performance and importantly longevity of the bat. A cricket bat should never be used in match conditions without being oiled and knocked in for at least 6 hours - doing so could cause terminal damage to the bat, and possible injury to the user.
At Greaves, we have created a handy guide to answer your key questions on proper cricket bat preparation and care.
Oiling Your Cricket Bat
When wood becomes dry, it becomes brittle. Willow, although very sturdy, can be cracked and split when impacted in a very dry state. Treating a cricket bat with linseed oil, which is a natural wood preservative, helps maintain moisture levels in the bat to avoid splits.
The face and the blade of your cricket bat should be coated in linseed oil. Typically, we would recommend two or three coats of linseed oil to prepare the bat.
Always apply each coat of linseed oil with your bat elevated horizontally, from the handle down. Never apply the next coat until the previous oil application has dried. Brush the oil over the bat, but never dip the bat or leave it standing in oil.
You should aim to oil your cricket bat with linseed oil every 3-6 weeks depending on storage and use to maintain positive moisture levels and and improve the flexibility of your bat.
“Knocking In”: Preparing Your Cricket Bat For Use
“Knocking in” of a bat is like stress testing - it helps to reinforce the initial pressing of a bat, where the wood fibres are compressed to help form a defence when the ball strikes it. Knocking in the bat with a cricket bat mallet helps to build that tolerance, compressing the willow fibres and increasing the lifespan.
Stage 1: Conditioning - “Knocking In” Your Cricket Bat
We’d recommend using a specialised cricket bat mallet. Starting with low impact and building up, strike the bat as and where a cricket ball would hit. This could include the face of the cricket bat, the edges, or the toe. Overall, this process should take minimum 6 hours to build up tolerance. Don’t risk trying to break your new cricket bat without fully knocking it in!
Stage 2: Ball Testing
With the willow fibres in your bat compressing and forming a barrier through knocking in, stage two is to test by hitting short catches with an older cricket ball. Be aware of the seam marking the cricket bat blade - if this happens, you should return to the initial stage of knocking in. Do ball testing for no less than an hour to develop the tolerance.
Stage 3: Net Testing
As the cricket bat is now well tested, try using it in nets again with an older, softer cricket ball. Avoid fast bowling as the fibres continue to compress but be aware of the bat being marked by ball seams - if there are any concerns return to a previous step.
Things To Avoid When Preparing Your Cricket Bat
- Don’t knock in the back of the bat - you wouldn’t use it in a match, we want to build up tolerance in the ball striking areas
- Avoid over-oiling your cricket bat - no more than 3 coats - and don’t apply linseed coats by dipping or standing a bat in the oil
- Don’t stand the bat vertically after oiling - the linseed oil needs to absorb along the bat, vertical standing will cause run off to isolated sections and leave areas exposed
- Don’t store your cricket bat in hot and humid areas, particularly near radiators, boilers, etc. as this can cause it to dry out and make the bat vulnerable to damage
And most importantly….
- Don’t use your bat until you’ve completed the breaking in process - doing so could lead to irreparable damage to the wood!
Shop Accessories For Cricket Bat Care & Preparation
We have everything you need to prepare your cricket bat for match use online and in store at Greaves Sports:
Oil your cricket bat in linseed oil to add moisture to help protect the bat from snapping or cracking. Buy now.
Cricket Bat Mallets
Knock your cricket bat to compress the fibres and build the strength to enhance your performance and protect the bat. A professional cricket bat mallet gives the best protection to the bat. Shop all cricket bat mallets.
A cricket bat cone helps to easily and efficiently apply a grip to the handle of a cricket bat.
Cricket Bat Tape
Using cricket bat tape can shield from excess moisture and enhance the strength of the bat.
The bottom of the cricket bat is known as the toe of the bat and can be easily damaged when in use. Splitting the toe can speed up damage across the whole bat; a cricket bat toe guard will protect the bat from wear and tear and any moisture entering from the ground
Is your cricket bat getting scuffed from bad strokes? A fibreglass sheet adds protection to your bat to reduce everyday wear and tear.
Shop Cricket at Greaves
Whether you are starting out in the game or a professional looking for the best equipment available, Greaves have you covered. We stock new cricket bats from top brands like Kookaburra, Gunn & Moore, and Gray-Nicolls, along with a selection of cricket balls. From cricket clothing to pads, helmets, and bags, we stock everything you need to take your game to the next level.
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