Once you have purchased your bat, it’s very important to remember that it must be carefully looked after. A bat is made from naturally grown willow that has been carefully grown and cared for many years and this care must be continued. It’s not just about picking out the right bat. You need to make sure that you look after it correctly. Incorrect care and maintenance will lead to reduced performance and a shorter life span for your bat. You will have paid alot of money for your bat, so we would like to help you take care of it. The tips below should help in doing that.
Many bats need to be oiled using either raw linseed oil or special bat oil before they are used. At MC, it is not necessary to oil your new cricket bats. However, if you do prefer to oil you cricket bat, we would advise 1 or 2 coats of oil as a maximum. The main purpose of oiling is to maintain moisture levels within the blade, and hence reduce the chances of cracking and splitting. About a teaspoonful should be applied to the surface of the bat. We recommend that oil should be applied once before the process of compressing the face begins. Each coat of oil should be about one teaspoon full. Spread the oil over the face of the bat using your fingers. The excess should then be worked into the rest of the blade as well as the toe, edges and back of the bat. The splice area of the bat should not be oiled as this may soften the glue around that area. The bat should then be kept horizontally on its back for 24 hours so as to allow the oil to soak in. Please remember that only a small amount of oil must be used.
For bats with a cover on the face:-
Apply oil as described above, but only to the back, uncovered edges and toe.
It is important that you do not over oil your bat. More bats are spoilt by over-oiling than by under-oiling.
Knocking in Your Bat
All our bats need to be knocked in. This will compress the face of the bat and is a very important process which increases the bats life span.
This is best done with a purpose-made bat mallet, either a smooth wooden mallet or a ball-on-handle mallet.
Tap the bat gently and repeatedly with the mallet all along with the face of the bat and the corresponding area on the edges where the face joins the side of the bat. Pay most attention to the areas of the bat most susceptible to damage: the edges and the toe. For the edges, hit an area of 5mm along the perimeter of the face, and gently hit the corner of the front edge at an angle of 45 degrees. Don’t strike the sides of the edges.
The process takes a long time: an hour or two is not enough. The more time spent knocking in the bat, the better it will perform. We recommend a minimum of six hours.
Mars Cricket provides knocking in services which will knock your bat in for 1 hour at the toe and edges. This does NOT mean your bat is fully knocked in and ready to play against bowlers. Each bat is different and some require more hours of knocking in for maximum performance, especially the toe and edge area of a cricket bat.
Playing in Your Bat
After you have finished knocking in the bat, we recommend that you play the bat in gently in a net session. Bat in a defensive manner and attempt to hit the ball with the middle of your bat. A soft, old ball should be used in this initial net session.
Additional Care for Your Bat
In addition to this we recommend that you take further precautions to make sure that your bat is well protected from being damaged. For uncovered bats, we suggest that you place a clear protective covering over the face of your bat. We can carry this service out for you. It is also advisable that you place a strip of edge tape along the inside and outside edge of your bat to provide additional protection and minimise the chances of cracking the bat on either of these edges.
Ways to Avoid Damaging Your Bat
Avoid exposing your bat to extreme temperatures. Do not stand your bat in oil. Try and prevent the bat from becoming damp. Do not use cheap hard balls as these will damage your bat. Do not misuse or treat your bat carelessly off the pitch. If you damage your bat, do not continue to use it as this may aggravate the area where the damage has been caused and force it into a state where it is beyond repair. You should store your bat in a cool dry atmosphere in the off season making sure that it is well away from any heat or dampness. Your bat should also be re-oiled after any substantial period where the bat has not been used. It is especially important to do this just prior to using your bat again in pre-season indoor nets. Some minor repairs can be carried out by you. To this end it is important that you carry bat tape in your bag so that you are able to make minor repairs where they are needed immediately.
Damage to Bats
Of course, it is possible that, despite taking all these precautions, the bat could still break with the first ball that it receives in a match. However, if you carry out all of the instructions above, you will greatly reduce the chances of any damage being caused to the bat. The bat is made of wood and is a natural product and therefore there is no guarantee that the bat will not break. Superficial surface cracks can occur, but these should not detract from the performance of the bat.