A cricket bat can be a significant investment which you will use again and again so having taken the care to choose the right model it is best to look after it well from the start. Regular maintenance and the right protective accessories will help to keep your bat in tip top condition for as long as possible. Look after your bat and it will look after your game!
If you have purchased a bat with a natural finish it will require treatment with linseed oil before you can use it. Carefully apply the oil with a soft lint free cloth and don’t let the oil reach the handle or splice. Avoid pools of excess oil by wiping them away immediately and treat the bat at least twice and preferably more often before playing with it. Never over oil your bat. It is safer to under do it than to use too much oil. Such an excess can cause the wood to rot or add too much weight to the bat and impede your play. If you do not also apply anti scuff facing to the bat it will require a light sanding down and further oil treatment approximately once each month.
Anti-scuff facing can be applied to your bat to protect the surface. Extratec self-adhesive covers prevent indentations and scuffing and will considerably prolong the life of your equipment. Using this material will also save you time during the season as you won’t have to sand and oil your bat each
All new bats, regardless of their finish, should be knocked in before use to compress the fibres in the willow. This can be a long process and so patience is required to perform the task properly. The bat should be struck repeatedly over all surfaces which may come into contact with the ball. The best implement to use is a bat mallet, failing that an old ball. Start by hitting the bat lightly then hit it progressively harder. The bat is ready for play when no visible marks are made by the seam of a ball striking it. The knocking in process will take about 6 hours for a new bat or 2 hours for pre-prepared
Most bats will have a toe guard fitted as standard but if yours does not a guard would make a wise investment. Your bat will be protected against damage from Yorkers, Splits, cracks and moisture from the pitch.
Never allow moisture to penetrate your bat as this can cause it to swell and split. If it does get wet for any reason, dry it off thoroughly before storing it. You also do not want the bat to dehydrate so avoid exposing it to excessive heat. Store out of direct sunlight in a moderate temperature and not in your car boot! If you do notice any cracking or splits seek help from an expert at the earliest opportunity as the damage will quickly get worse if left untreated and the bat may become beyond repair.
If you look after your equipment and invest in the right cricket bat accessories you will be able to enjoy your bat for a much longer period of time. Save yourself the money and hassle by looking after what you have got.
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Sally Stacey is a keen writer and sports enthusiast who lives in the South of England.