Almost all new English and Kashmir Willow cricket bats require knocking in before use. Knocking in is the process of hardening and conditioning of the blades surface.
There are two reasons for knocking in;
- Protecting the bat from cracking and increase its usable life
- Improving the middle of the bat so it is bigger and better
STEP 1 – OILING THE BAT
- Apply a light coat of raw linseed oil to the front, edges, to and back of the bat blade using a soft cloth while bat is kept in a horizontal position.
***BE SURE NOT TO OIL THE SPLICE AREA OF THE BAT***
- Allow raw linseed oil to completely dry and repeat this process for 2-3 applications
STEP 2 – KNOCKING IN
- Using an old leather ball (or bat mallet), gently tap the front face of the bat for around 2 hours to slowly compress the fibers in the bat. Increase force gradually and slowly work your way around the edges of the bat till it starts to show a nice rounded corner around the edge.
- Start using your bat to hit short catches using an old ball.
- Progress to using the bat in the nets to play light defensive shots using older leather balls, eventually moving up to newer leather balls, then playing harder shots, before using in a match.
STEP 3 – BAT MAINTENANCE
- The face, edges and especially the toe of the bat, must be kept dry at all times. Moisture will affect the quality of your bat and can lead to increased cracks and splits.
- Small cracks may appear in your bat, this is completely normal. These may be lightly sanded out and have linseed oil applied to the affected areas.
- Always store your bat in a clean, dry environment. Never store your bat in a car for extended periods of time as this may lead to swelling of the timber.
CRICKET BAT SIZING
Choosing the right size bat can make a huge difference to your game. It is important that the bat is not too heavy to hinder correct stroke play and good technique.