Bat Maintenance

Maintenance of a Cricket Bat:

Cricket Bat reparation and maintenance is the key to a long cricket bat life. Once you've purchased your cricket bat, the next step is to prepare it for action and then maintain it.

Preparation comes in two phases:

  • 1. Oiling
  • 2. Knocking it in.


Wood is a natural product that reacts to the climate around it.  The willow used for cricket bats are no different.  It needs to be fed and treated to maintain its integrity.   If the wood dies out it will be prone to cracking.  The wood may become hard and you will lose some of the hitting power from the bat.  Splitting and braking is inevitable.

Phase 1:

Phase 1: Oiling

  • Oiling Your Cricket Bat using a soft rag. Apply a light coat of oil to the Face, Edges, toe and back of the cricket bat. The most optimum oil used for the regular oiling of a cricket bat is raw linseed oil. There are good alternatives for linseed oil such as mustard oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil that can be used to oil a cricket bat. Even cooking oil or vegetable oil can also be used for oiling cricket bats.
  • AVOID getting oil on the splice of the bat as it may undermine the glue holding the handle and blade of the bat together!
  • Avoid over-oiling the cricket bat. (You only put a small amount of oil on the rag and ensure the wood sip up the oil.) Do the process slowly. Twice a year is sufficient.
  • After the coat of oil has been applied, leave the cricket bat in a horizontal position to dry overnight.
  • On the next day, apply a second coat, following the same directions as the first one. Leave to dry till the next day. Leave your bat for 48 hours to dry completely. Wipe all excess oil from the bat.
  • After oiling the cricket bat, the next phase begins.
  • Try and oil your bat once a year in the off-season to keep the fibres of the wood supple and prevent the face of the cricket bat from cracking.
  • A number of cricket bat manufacturers indicate that over half of the bats sent back to them for repair, have not been sufficiently oiled or have in turn been over-oiled. A balance needs to be struck, with a light coating as the main instruction provided by bat manufacturers. If the cricket bat you have just purchased has an anti-scruff cover, the face will not need oiling. However, the back of the cricket bat will need oiling.

Phase 2:

Phase 2: Knocking In of the cricket Bat

After purchase, all cricket bats should be knocked in to prepare them for use in competitive matches. If the bat manufacturer says the bat is pre-knocked in, please ensure you knock in the edges again with a mallet to ensure the edges aren’t too soft as a hardball would make a massive dent on the edges if not properly knocked in. The edges, toe and blade of the bat all need to be sufficiently knocked in, as these areas face large amounts of impact from the cricket ball, therefore making them vulnerable to breakages and damage. Knocking your cricket bat in is an effective way of ensuring that the bat has been compacted enough to prevent impact damage. As the knocking-in process is a very important aspect of preparing your cricket bat for action, it cannot be rushed and must be done carefully. Knocking your cricket bat in is effectively ensuring that the wood of the bat is compact as the fibres are compressed and knitted together. You can get your bat machine knocked in, where the bat is compacted quickly in a short period of time. The view negatives of machine knocking are that your edges aren’t knocked in and you can damage the bat if the bat gets knocked in too hard at the beginning of the bat-knocking-in process.

Consider the following steps when knocking in your cricket bat:
  • Using a hardwood bat mallet, gently strike the face and the edges of the cricket bat, simulating what the ball would do in a competitive game situation.
  • Repeat the above on multiple occasions, gradually increasing the power. Use the same method as above to round the edges of the cricket bat, but be careful. Avoid using too much power, to begin with as this could result in unnecessary damage. Note: Do not hit the edge directly with the mallet, gradually round the cricket bat off.
  • It is important to knock the edges of the bat in as they can often be vulnerable to damage during competitive matches and net play.
  • After 2-3 Hours of knocking the cricket bat in, you can take it to the nets and hit some short catches using an old ball. If seam marks or small indentations appear on the face of the cricket bat, it would be necessary to return to the first step.
  • After continuing to knock the cricket bat in and completing some close catching sessions, you could try the bat in your normal net practice.
  • After a few net sessions, your cricket bat should be ready to use in a competitive match.
  • I would recommend added protection after knocking your bat in, you may wish to add a protective cover to the cricket bat. This should be positioned and fitted approximately 3-5mm from the toe of the bat, with the cover running up the face of the cricket bat and finishing just below the bat manufacturer’s labels.

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