Cricket bats are surprisingly needy. They require quite a lot of care and attention if you want to keep them in good condition ready for hitting it out of the park every Sunday!
In this guide, we’re making cricket bat care simple. There are some basic and easy rules to follow to keep your bat in good nick. The number of people who buy a £400 bat and then leave it in the wrong conditions or don’t look after it is frightening.
Understanding Your Bat
A good cricket bat is made out of high-quality wood. A fine piece of willow normally does the trick.
It is important to understand that this bat will face immense pressure, especially against quick bowlers.
Even with superb-quality wood, the fibres can come loose over time. That’s why we have processes that keep the bat in the best possible condition and prepare the bat for the season ahead.
A bat needs to be oiled and “knocked-in”. This is an intimidating process for beginners, which is why it is often a good idea to get a bat that is pre-knocked in. This means that as soon as it arrives it is ready to get out to the nets and hit some balls.
The Village Cricket Bat is designed exactly for this purpose. You get the bat in ideal condition to start playing.
No Bat is Immune
You might have watched cricket before and seen a bat break. If a 90mph delivery hits the bat in just the wrong place, it can break it at the splice, or anywhere else for that matter.
It’s important to realise that precautions keep your bat in far better condition, and make it less likely that anything like this will happen, but it is still possible.
Ok, so you’re probably not going to face any 94mph, Jofra Archer rockets at your local cricket club, but that doesn’t mean your bat will last forever.
How to Store Your Cricket Bat
Your bat should always go inside a cover when not in use for any prolonged period. However, this is not the only protection your bat needs. There are many different considerations including the humidity or moisture in the air, and the temperature.
Wood is naturally sensitive to changes in temperature. If the bat is constantly heating up or cooling down then you might end up with a misshapen or even brittle bat. If your bat is having to deal with the temperatures rising and falling all the time (for instance, if it is kept in a car) then this can be a real issue.
A garage, or even a cupboard in the home away from radiators, windows or any other sources of heat, can be the perfect spot for it. Think of it as if you were storing food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but isn’t going to last as long if you leave it in direct sunlight.
Oiling Your Bat
For more information on oiling your bat, head to our full guide here (link)
If your bat has spent a bit of time in storage and you need to prepare it for the next season, oiling it is one of the key steps.
Oiling your bat means applying a layer of linseed oil, usually around 2-3 teaspoons in total. The bat can soak this up, and it reinvigorates the fibres, reinforcing the front of the bat.
Once the oil has been applied it needs to be left for 24 hours before the next step; knocking in.
Knocking-In Your Bat
Once again, we have a full guide to knocking in your bat here, where we explain why it is vital and the exact steps to follow.
Knocking-in prepares the bat by creating a simulation of what it will have to cope with when you take to your crease on the weekend (or not if you tend to give up your wicket for a duck).
Specific bat mallets can be bought to aid the process. You can knock the front of the bat gently at first, and get more forceful over time as the fibres of the bat bind together and get stronger.
Eventually, you can graduate to throwing a soft, older ball at the bat to get it used to coping with the pressure. Eventually, it will be ready to face deliveries from your league’s fastest bowler.
Some people have slightly different methods such as foregoing the mallet and using a ball inside a couple of socks!
The important thing is to gradually build up pressure, and to knock in the edges of your bat, but not at a right angle. Do so by recreating the kind of glancing blows your bat will take when you inevitably edge to slip (or edge for runs, if you’re lucky).
More Bat Care Tips
There are a few more simple rules and tips to allow your bat to stay in the best condition.
- Don’t let the bat get wet. Especially the edges, and toe of the bat.
- If you get a few cracks around the edges or on the face of the bat, that’s nothing to panic about. Sand them out using 180-220 sandpaper and apply a little linseed oil.
- If your bat appears to be getting dry through the season, oil it more frequently.
- Keep a close eye on your bat. Visual signs are often the best way to tell if something is wrong.
If you’re lucky, your cricket club will either have a local sports store or a club veteran who can help with bat care. You might have to pay for some maintenance and repairs, but it is better than paying for a new bat.
When we set out to develop the Village Cricket Bat, we didn’t want any more maintenance than was necessary for the buyer, so all of our bats come knocked in and ready to use.