For a bat to have a long life it is a necessity to prepare and maintain it in good condition. After purchasing your cricket bat, the next step is to prepare it for action and then maintain it.
There are two phases in the preparation of a bat:
Knocking it in
Oiling of a bat:
Most bats today do not need oiling process, however it is subject to user’s discretion. If the Cricket Bat you’ve just purchased has an anti-scuff cover, then you can skip this process and proceed for knocking of the bat. Apply a light coat of oil to the Face of the cricket bat, using a soft rag. But don’t oil the splice of the bat as it may cause the glue to weaken its holding of the blade with the handle. Be careful not to over oil the cricket bat. After applying a thin layer of oil coating, place the bat in horizontal position to dry through the night. Please do the same oiling process again on the next day and leave it to dry. Now the knocking in of the bat can be done as the bat has been oiled. Oiling your bat regularly keeps the fibres of the wood supple and prevents the face of the cricket bat from cracking. Try applying anti-scuff oil once, very lightly.
Knocking in of a bat:
Cricket bats are made from a fairly soft and fibrous material called willow. With cricket balls being delivered like missiles at up to 90mph against your cricket bat it is obviously advisable to prepare your blade to achieve optimal performance, resistance and longevity. This process is referred to as Knocking or Running your cricket bat in.
After purchasing a cricket bat it is very essential to knock in your bat, even though the bat has come in pre-knocked condition from the manufacturer. The areas such as the toe, edges and blade of the bat needs to be knocked in well, as these areas are very vulnerable to the impact of a fast cricket ball which may result in breakages or damages of the bat.
Knocking in your cricket bat is an effective way of ensuring the fibres are knit together well. Thus, preventing any impact damage. As the knocking in is a very important aspect of preparing your bat for action, it must be done in a gradual manner to ensure the wellness of the bat.
Steps on how to knock in your cricket bat:
Take a hard wood bat mallet and gently strike on the face and edges of the cricket bat, like how a ball would be hitting the bat in competitive match situation. Repeat the above process on multiple occasions, slowly increasing the power. Use this method to round the edges off, but be careful with the edges. It’s advisable not to use too much power to begin with as it may cause unnecessary damage to bat. Do not hit the bat’s edge directly with the mallet, but round it off near the edges. It’s a necessity to knock the bat’s edges, because it could get damaged during practice sessions or game situations. After getting your bat knocked in well for 2-3 hours, it is advisable to repeat the previous step for a week’s time.
You can take it to the nets and hit some short catches with an old ball to warm it up. If any seam marks or indentations appear on the face of the bat then repeat the above process. When you have finished with the knocking in process and some close catching sessions, you can try the bat in a normal net practice. After completing a few net sessions the cricket bat should be ready for a competitive match. Note: One can make use of rope ball for practice if you don’t get a bat mallet.
There are other things you can do to add protection to your bat by giving it a protective cover generally called ‘Fiber tape’. It should be fitted or positioned in such a way that there should a gap of only 3-5mm from the toe and running up the face of the bat and just ending below the bat manufacturer’s labels.
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