Cricket players really only have one vital piece of playing equipment, and that is their bat. Whether you are an opening batsman, or the spin bowler, you will have your turn in front of the stumps, and your half century might make all the difference. Bat maintenance, is therefore critical, and if you are about to invest in a new cricket bat, here are some useful tips.
Knocking In – Every new bat must be knocked in, which is a process of gently tapping the blade with a special wooden cricket mallet. There is a degree of skill involved in this, but most people can pick it up quickly, with the key point being that the mallet should strike the blade surface at 90 degrees, which evenly compacts the young willow. The “knocking in” has a significant effect on the bat’s performance, so this stage should never be overlooked, or indeed compromised in any way. Expect the knocking in process to take 3-4 weeks, and you should see the edges of the bat becoming rounded, and when you think it is ready, hit a few old balls, and check for indentations. If there are none, your bat is knocked in, and you can begin to use it.
Linseed Oil – Regular application of linseed oil is necessary to keep the willow moist, and it is recommended to oil your bat once a month during the playing season. Too much oil might cause the willow to rot, and not enough will leave the bat dry, so an evenly spread, thin coat is sufficient. Your bat should be cleaned and oiled pre-season, before taking it into the nets, and every care should be taken not to damage the blade and edges. If you are looking for an online cricket store, click here for the best prices with all things cricket.
Avoid Excessive Temperatures – A cricket bat should not be exposed to excessive heat, as this can warp the blade, and then the bat is unusable. Storing your bat in a cool, dry atmosphere will keep it in prime condition, and avoid leaving it in the trunk of the car for long periods, as this will definitely damage the willow.
Using the Right Balls – Avoid the temptation of using cheap cricket balls, as these can really harm the delicate batting surface. Some makes of cricket ball are too hard, and hitting a six with one could result in a nasty indentation on the meat of the bat, and this will take many hours of fine sanding to remove completely. A lot depends on how often you are using the bat, but as a general rule, the entire bat should be closely inspected after every session, and any fine cracks should be sanded out.
With the right care and treatment, your new bat should give you years of service, and if you are looking for a new bat this season, there are online sports suppliers of bats and accessories, all at affordable prices.