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Home » Articles & Information » Bat Care
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Bat Care  
Summary:
A Cricket Bat is the most important (and expensive) tool for any cricketer. Caring for it will increase its lifespan and keep you in the runs!

Article Content:
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU OIL AND KNOCK IN YOUR BAT BEFORE USE AND WE STRONGLY ADVISE THAT YOU HAVE A TOE GUARD FITTED!

If you want to get the best out of your new bat please follow these simple instructions, if you don't you must expect damage that is NOT covered by any guarantee or warranty. Also please remember that you cannot prevent all damage, during the lifetime of a bat some damage will occur. Every strike of a cricket ball will cause some, often imperceptible damage to the bat. WE STRONGLY ADVISE FITTING A TOE GUARD TO YOUR BAT, THEY PROTECT AGAINST SO MUCH POTENTIAL DAMAGE TO THE VULNERABLE TOE AREA.

OILING YOUR BAT

The purpose of oiling your bat is to help prevent the wood from drying out and becoming brittle, it also helps to soften and bind the surface fibres of the willow during the knocking in process. By oiling the toe you are helping to prevent water ingression that could lead to the toe cracking and the face peeling.

Many cricket bats require oiling with raw linseed oil or special cricket bat oil. A minimum of two coats (preferably three) should be applied to the bat leaving 24 hours between coats for the oil to dry and soak in. During the drying time the bat should be laid horizontally, out of direct sunlight. A coat of oil is about one teaspoon full, but be especially generous with the oil around the toe area of your bat. However avoid oiling the splice area and the stickers as the oil could loosen the glue. Also NEVER stand the bat in oil or apply too much oil as this will deaden the wood resulting in very poor performance.

KNOCKING IN - THE BANE OF ANY NEW BAT OWNER

All bats are pressed, however, "knocking-in" is VITAL. This is the process by which the fibres of the willow in the face and edges are compressed together to form a barrier that protects the bat against the impact of the ball. Effective "knocking-in" will significantly improve the performance and increase the lifespan of the bat.

STAGE ONE: The "knocking-in" process should be undertaken carefully using a special bat mallet or an old cricket ball. The bat should be repeatedly struck (with gradually increasing force) in all areas where one would normally expect to hit the ball. This conditioning must be performed with patience. Particular attention should be given to the edges, although the edges or toe should not be struck directly at right angles to the blade. This would be likely to cause damage. This stage should take in the region of six hours, although it may vary, as every bat is different.

STAGE TWO: The next step is to graduate to the use of the bat to hit short catches with an old, quality cricket ball. However, if the seam marks the blade it is necessary to return to "stage one" for further conditioning. This stage should be performed for at least another hour. Once these steps have been taken, the bat should be ready for use in matches. It is advisable to initially avoid use against the "new ball".

WARNING UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD A BAT BE USED IN MATCH CONDITIONS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS FOLLOWING THE DATE OF PURCHASE.

NETS - It is advisable not to use a new bat during indoor net sessions or on concrete practice pitches, the ground is often very hard and will increase the risk of damage to the toe of your bat, especialy if you try to 'dig out yorkers' or catch the bat on the floor as you attempt a shot. Damage caused under these conditions is not covered by any bat warranty.

END OF SEASON - During the playing life of your bat treat it with care and attention; at the start and end of each season lightly sand the blade and apply another light coat of oil. Do not put the bat away wet as this will encourage rotting and try to store the bat in cool, moist conditions to prevent excessive drying of the willow. Do not keep your bat in your car boot for any length of time as this will dry the willow and make it very weak.

STORAGE - To ensure that a bat remains in good condition it is essential that it is not stored in excessively warm conditions (e.g. near to central heating OR IN BOOT OF CAR). This will cause the bat to dry out and precipitate future problems. The bat should ideally be stored in a position that will allow a little of the moisture from the atmosphere to be absorbed. STORING IN CARS WILL DETRACT FROM THE PERFORMANCE OF THE BAT.

LIFESPAN OF A CRICKET BAT - This question is impossible to answer, 1000 to 1500 runs is often quoted as a figure to aim for, but the life of a cricket bat is goverened by many factors, including preparation, usage both the amount and style of play and how you care for your bat. The length of time before the player needs to replace his bat will depend upon:a) The amount of use b) The weight of the bat (heavier blades tend to be more durable than lighter ones) c) The care with which the bat is treated Test match players get through 4 to 6 bats a year, an opening batsman facing a new ball every week against fast bowling at semi-professional level could expect to use a new bat each year, someone lower down the order who hits the ball hard would be in a similar situation.

IN CASE OF DAMAGE - Immediate action should be taken. This normally necessitates withdrawal from play whilst repairs are carried out. It is vital the repairs are carried out by professional bat makers. The manufacturers are unable to guarantee repair work carried out by non-approved repairers.

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