How to maintain your English Willow Cricket bat?


       If you spend so much money on your bats, wouldn't it make sense for you to keep it in a good condition? Without a good bat, the ball wouldn't fly, making you doubt your own skills when in reality its just your bat that is not functioning to its capabilities. I know it may sound like a tedious task, but the most tedious task are the ones that are necessary. The entire game begins with a bat and ball and just how a person maintains the ball during the game by shining it, the same must be done to a bat prior to the game by oiling and knocking along with other aspects. 

     The first thing that you need to know is that if it is a Kashmir willow bat then oiling is not required as it is for an English Willow Bat. For a brand new English willow bat first, you need to oil the bat and then knock it in. Here are the steps in more detail:

Step 1: Oiling 

     What does oiling do to a cricket bat? If you don't oil a bat then the bat dries and the wood becomes brittle. So instead of breaking a mate's windshield, you'll be breaking your bat. Basically oiling a bat can prevent it from turning into firewood. The oil keeps the bat healthy and prevents the burning sun as it dries your bat in the open. 

     The best type of oil to use is raw linseed oil. Raw linseed oil keeps the bats' fibers strong and gives the utmost performance. You can buy linseed oil at One thing beginners do is that they oil the spline of the bat. Never do this! This can damage your bat and make it unusable. The spline is where the handle gets attached to the cleft of the bat. Before oiling, you should sand your bat to open up the fibers and open the wood to the oil. This step isn’t necessary but is advised. You should use 150 to 220 grit sandpaper and sand it along the grains not in an opposite direction. Don't sand over an anti-scuff sheet.

  1. First, start by sanding the bat with 150 to 220 grit paper. Remember to sand the edges. 
  2. Then apply a drop of linseed oil to cover the whole face of the bat with a thin layer. Spread evenly. 
  3. After that let the bat sit overnight or for several hours. If you have an anti-scuff already installed on the bat then oil the back of the bat. And then let it sits face down overnight. 

You can buy oil here

Step 2: Knocking

     Why should you knock your bat? Knocking-in a bat provides the bat integrity and strength throughout the season. The fibers in the bats' willow combine and become compact and provide strength to your strokes. A bat with softwood won’t give you as much punch to the ball as a knocked bat would for your maximums. 

     To knock the bat first you need a wooden mallet. You will use the mallet to strike the bat to compact the fibers in it. You can also use a leather cricket ball. A bat requires about 6 hours of knocking depending on its softness. Or you can knock about 10,000 to 20,000 times on the bat. Spend most of your time and knocks should be on the edges and toe. Don't directly hit the side of the bat or the direct bottom of it.

  1. Start the knocking by hitting the edges. You should hold it at a 45 degree angle and roll the mallet of the bat every time you strike on the edge. You can increase the force as you progress. Spend a good amount of time on both edges. After that you will see indentations on either of  the edges. They will seem to be rounded off which is a good thing. You can use the light to help you see for any spots you missed. 
  2. After that move on to an inch into the bat from the edges. For this you aren't angling the bat like you were for the edges. Here you will hit the bat straight and harder than you did for the edges. Do this on both sides. 
  3. Then move onto the toe of the bat which is delicate so do it with care. Go with the grains and work your way down to about 3 or 4 inches. 
  4. Now it is time for the middle. The middle of the bat is the part of the bat that needs the least amount of knocking. Don’t worry about over knocking in bat because there is no such thing. As you are knocking in the middle you will start to hear more of a hollow sound and a change of tone from the wood.  Which is a good sign. And you will be able to see where the bat has been knocked as you shine it in light. 

You can buy a knocking mallet here

     Now you're ready for the nets. Do some throw downs before the season starts and see if the bat needs to be knocked anywhere else and do so. A good way to check that your bat is knocked is by taking your fingernail and poking the middle or the edges with it. If it leaves an indentation then make sure you knock the bat more since that means that the wood is still soft and not ready for the game. Then you can apply the accessories of the bat. Like an anti-scuff sheet which protects the bat from damage and a toe guard to protect the toe from wear and tear. It also avoids the moisture that the bat might soak in. If you want a professional to take care of your bat then you should go see which provides a knocking machine, hand knocking, oiling, sanding and an anti-scuff sheet. They provide a wide variety of services and other accessories you might need, for an optimum performance in the game. 


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