Bat Care & Preparation For Play
*** BAT CARE & PREPARATION FOR PLAY ***
FOCUS CRICKET recommends the following principles for the preparation and maintenance of cricket bats. Following these procedures will significantly reduce the possibility of damage occurring.
* OILING *
All natural faced bats MUST be treated using RAW LINSEED or a specialist cricket bat oil or bat wax – DONOT USE BOILED LINSEED OIL. The main purpose of oiling is to maintain moisture levels within the blade, and hence reduce the chances of cracking and splitting.
Light coats should be applied to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade - taking care to avoid the logos and the splice area. Generally, 2 light coats should be sufficient. Each coat should be allowed to dry into the blade in a horizontal position before the next is applied. ALTERNATIVELY - It is possible to fit a clear Anti-scuff or Extra Tech sheet for better protection. This does not negate the requirement to 'knock in' or oil the bat. The cover will greatly assist the durability of the bat, but under no circumstances will it totally prevent surface damage…. We strongly recommend applying a scuff sheet for the first season of use.
* KNOCKING IN *
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 1 - The 'knocking in' process should be undertaken carefully, using a special bat mallet with large head (small head bat mallets are not recommended). 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 will likely cause damage. Glancing blows are recommended. Alternatively you can roll the edges with a timber rolling pin to round them off.
Stage 1 should take in the region of six hours, although it may vary, as every bat is different.
Stage 2 - The next step is to graduate 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 a further conditioning. This stage should be performed for at least another hour.
Stage 3 – Introduce the bat at training in a gentle controlled session using old, quality cricket balls with gentle stroke play – do not introduce expansive shots. Once these steps have been taken, the bat should be ready for use in matches. If seam marks are present after ball contact, stop using and return to the knocking in process until the willow is fully knocked in and seam marks cease. It is advisable to initially avoid use against the 'new ball'.
WARNING: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD A BAT BE USED IN MATCH CONDITIONS BEFORE ADEQUATE PREPARATION HAS BEEN DONE & THE BAT IS FULLY KNOCKED IN.
* Please Note - NEVER
• Over oil a bat making the willow dead with no ping.
• Wash a bat clean with water – never wash the bat with water.
• Expose the bat to damp conditions.
• Constantly tapping the toe of the bat in the crease on a wet wicket, thus saturating the base of the bat, causing the pressing to lift and the base of the bat to swell and generally crack horizontally.
• Use it without “Oiling & Knocking in” treatment
• Aggressively hit “Yorkers” on the toe of the blade, thus denting and bruising the willow causing it to split horizontally – Yorkers should be played defensively and with care. Be extra careful on indoor, hard or synthetic wickets, as these hard surfaces will damage the toe if struck hard into the surface.
• Excessive use bowling machines – this will damage bats due to the hardness of balls.
We recommend to use an old bat for bowling machines.
• Using cheap cricket balls (especially those with hard centers) which bruise and dent the willow. Many bats are dented due to this reason.
• Continue to play with a damaged bat causing the bat to become non repairable.
• Never store your bat in the car or car boot. You must avoid exposure to the extremes of temperature as this will dry the bat out and result in the bat cracking or splitting.
ENGLISH WILLOW is a natural product prone to superficial damage from the impact of a cricket ball, hence proper preparation is paramount to avoid damage.
Minor cracks and indentations are common on all cricket bats due to the nature of the sport (soft willow v hard ball) and are not warrantable items.