How To Season And Prepare A New Cricket Bat !
Most English willow bats don’t come ready to play. These need to be seasoned to be prepared to play . The key steps for this include oiling and knocking-in the bat .
- First step in preparing the bat is to oil it with raw linseed oil. It reduces the risk of wood drying out and cracking . To oil a bat , apply a small amount of raw linseed oil to the face, edges and back of the bat evenly using your fingers or a soft rag. Avoid the stickers or logos and the splice area of the bat. Make sure not to over oil the bat. Over oiling can cause loss of driving power and rot . Leave the bat horizontal and face up to dry for at least 12- 24 hours.
- The next step in preparing the bat is Knocking-in. Knocking-in of a cricket bat is very important as it increases the performance of the bat and also the lifespan of the bat. When you knock-in a bat , you’re compressing the fibers of the willow to knit these together . This gives the bat strength. Knocking-in of a bat should be done by using a wooden mallet or a professional knocking-in machine. Using a wooden mallet , start by hitting the middle of the bat slowly and repeat it for the playing area of the blade. The edges & toe of the bat need to be carefully handled as hitting hard on these may crack the willow. A minimum of 6 hours of knocking-in recommended by most cricket bat manufacturers. Brands like Kookaburra that come “KPP - Kookaburra Pre-Prepared” also require knocking-in. Even they recommend a minimum of 6 hours of knocking-in.
- After knocking-in the bat, it is advisable to use it in the nets with an older cricket ball for a few days to “break-in” the bat before using it with a new ball.
- During the life-span of a cricket bat, all bats will crack given the nature of the game. It may be worth considering using a fibreglass tape or a quality anti-scuff sheet to protect the edges and the face of the bat .