New, natural-faced cricket bats need to be oiled and knocked in.
OILING YOUR BAT
All bats that have a natural face (uncovered) need to be oiled with cricket bat oil throughout their life to maintain moisture levels in the willow fibres. This will reduce the chance of cracking or splitting during use. The correct type of oil to use on your bat is natural linseed oil (we sell this in store).
How to apply oil to new bats
The best way to apply oil to a cricket bat is by using a paintbrush. Lightly coat the face of the bat, edges and toe of the blade. Take care to avoid the stickers, logos and the splice area. Generally 3 to 4 light coats should be sufficient initially, and then apply one coat every 3 to 4 weeks thereafter. Allow each coat to dry, placing the bat in a horizontal position, before the next coat is applied. REMEMBER: use light coats only – you risk more damage to the cricket bat by over-oiling rather than under-oiling.
‘Knocking in’ your new cricket bat is VITAL for its survival. This is the process by which the fibres of the willow in the face and edges are compressed together to form a barrier, which protects the bat against the impact of the ball. Effective ‘knocking in’ will significantly improve the performance and increase the lifespan of the bat. We also recommend that factory pre-prepared bats need extra preparation by further knocking in using a mallet.
How to ‘knock in’ your bat
Step 1: Using a special bat mallet, strike the bat repeatedly across and down the front of the blade. You should gradually apply more force over time. This conditioning must be performed with patience. Particular attention should be given to hardening the edges to minimise damage from an edge shot. This can be done by deflecting the mallet across the edges, not at right-angles. We also recommend ‘boning’ the edges, which involves running the handle of the mallet down the edges to compress them. The bat’s toe area should be struck carefully as there is risk of causing cracks or splits across the base of the bat if it is struck too hard. This step takes between 8 to 10 hours to complete.
Step 2: To ready your bat for match use, you should use your bat against throw downs in the nets or by giving short catches. Make sure the ball you are facing is a quality old ball. This should be done for at least 2 hours. If seam marks, small surface cracks or indentations are visible, immediately go back to Step 1 for further preparation for at least 2 more hours. This is not sign of a faulty bat – it simply means that the bat requires further attention.
Once these steps have been completed, your bat should be ready to use in matches. You should try to avoid use against a new ball initially. If this can’t be avoided or you are an opening batsman, you should purchase extratec for added protection.