Bat Maintenance

How To Knock In, Prepare & Oil Your Cricket Bat?

We are all very excited when we buy a brand new cricket bat but are always told to oil and knock in the bat before it is ready for use. We understand that you're keen to get out and play as soon as possible so have pulled together this guide to help you prepare your bat to ensure maximum performance and longevity.

If you would prefer to watch our video guide, you can view that below:

How To Knock In Prepare Oil Your Cricket Bat?

Knocking-in and preparing your cricket bat is vital to maximise the performance of your bat and most importantly prevent any damage from occurring. In this video, Richard & Neil take a detailed, in-depth look at the knocking in process and answer the key questions.

Firstly, let's look at the process of knocking in...

Why Do I Need To Knock In My Cricket Bat?

English willow cricket bats are made from natural fibres and the process of knocking in helps compress those fibres to form a barrier.

The first reason why we knock in our cricket bat is to enhance and maximise the performance. By compressing those fibres, it gives your cricket bat that springiness, enhancing the response you get when the ball hits the bat.

The second and key reason why we knock in our cricket bat is to prevent any damage occurring on the face, edges and toe of the bat, particularly early on in a bats lifetime. By compressing the fibres and forming a barrier, we are protecting the bat against the impact of the ball. If your bat has not been knocked in correctly, you can expect to see cracks appearing early on.

Not all bats need knocking in, for example, a Kashmir willow junior bat will only be suitable for softballs and therefore won't need knocking in and protection from a hard cricket ball.

Pre-Prepared Bats

Some manufacturers knock in their cricket bats before they send them out to retailers, either by hand or via a knocking-in machine. These bats are termed pre-prepared bats and usually have a sticker indicating this. For example, Gunn and Moore's 'GM NOW' sticker signifies that their bats are knocked in and ready for play straight away.

GM now sticker on edge of bat

Pre-prepared bats are around 80% knocked in and 'in theory' are ready to go. 

TOP TIP - We would always advise you to spend 2 more hours knocking the bat in, even if it is deemed pre-prepared. 

How to Knock In Your Cricket Bat?

There are two ways to knock in your cricket bat which we will explore below.

1. Traditional method

To knock in your cricket bat using the traditional method, you will need either a bat mallet or a cricket ball in a sock. We would recommend a bat mallet as your best tool as you can be more accurate.

You can purchase a bat mallet here on our website - Serious Sport bat mallet

To start, get a feel for the mallet on the willow by hitting up and down the face of the bat, going no further than the bottom of the splice (the triangle area at the top of your cricket bat). By doing this you will get a feel for the best performing area of your cricket bat as well as hearing different sounds. However, this isn't the area that you need to focus on when knocking in your bat.

The real focus is on the edges and toe area of your cricket bat. 

Start by hitting up and down the edges and down towards the toe area of your cricket bat (DO NOT HIT THE EDGES OR TOE SIDEWAYS ON - THIS WILL DAMAGE YOUR BAT). 

Next start by skimming across the edges and toe, replicating the type of glancing blows you could get from a cricket ball in a game. You want to hit the bat hard enough to make a small indentation. This process helps to harden and round the edges and toe area of your bat, blending it into the face.

Dependent on the experience of the user, it is best to complete this in a series of 20-30 minute bursts.

WARNING:

- Do not hit the edge or toe of the bat at 90 degrees as this is likely to increase the chance of cracking.

- Do not use the mallet on the back of the bat.

- The knocking in should be performed with a gradual increasing force, but never too hard to cause damage. Try and replicate what you would expect the force to be if a cricket ball was to hit your bat in a match.

2. Knocking-in machine

Several retailers offer customers a knocking-in service, whereby your bat is knocked in by a machine.

There are many benefits to using a knocking-in machine such as;

- Saves time

- Saves energy and effort

- You don't have to listen to that repetitive knocking in noise 

- The machine is more accurate 

At Serious Cricket we offer a knocking-in service which is done by machine.

How Do I Know If My Bat Has Been Knocked In Correctly?

Once you have knocked the bat in, it is advisable to use the bat in the nets against an old soft cricket ball or a bowling machine. Avoid a new ball with a hard seam.

Bowling machine balls are a lot more forgiving than standard cricket balls and an ideal way to prepare your bat.  

If seam marks or dimples appear on the face of your bat, further knocking in is required.

How Long Do I Need To Knock My Bat In For?

If you have a junior cricket bat, we recommend that you take 2 hours to knock it in.

If you have an adult cricket bat, we recommend that you take 4-5 hours.

Why Do I Need To Oil My Cricket Bat?

Oiling your cricket bat keeps the wood soft and supple, maintaining the moisture levels which prevents the willow from cracking and splitting. It is very important to oil your English willow cricket bat. 

You do not need to worry about oiling Kashmir willow cricket bats. 

How To Oil Your Cricket Bat?

Apply raw linseed oil to all areas of the bat where the wood is exposed with a cloth. 2 to 3 drops should be enough to start with. Take care not to oil the splice (the triangle area at the top of your cricket bat where the handle fits into the blade) or the stickers as they may come off. 

Cricket bat oil

Blog - How To Oil Your Cricket Bat?

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TOP TIP: You don't want to change the colour of the bat.

WARNING: Be careful not to over oil (which can saturate the bat) or under oil (which causes the bat to become brittle and prone to cracking).

To dry, rest the bat horizontal with the bat face uppermost for 24 hours. Store in a cool room not near any central heating.

How To Oil A Cricket Bat That Has An Anti-Scuff Sheet?

If your bat comes with an anti-scuff sheet (a clear laminate on the face of the bat) you will need to oil the exposed wood on the back of the bat. Rest the bat horizontal with the bat face down for 24 hours. This will allow the oil to soak through into the willow.

Should I Knock In Or Oil My Cricket Bat First?

This is a question we get asked a lot and there is no right or wrong answer. Some people prefer to oil their bat before they knock in whereas other prefer to knock their bat in first and then oil it afterwards. Either way, it won't make a difference to the preparation of your cricket bat. 

Options To Further Protect Your Bat

Once the oil has completely dried, an anti-scuff sheet can be fitted to the face of the bat which offers further protection and helps to increase the lifespan of your bat. It helps compress and compact the fibres, holding them together, making sure your bat lasts even longer.

Fibre-glass bat tape can also be applied to the edges and toe of the bat which provides extra protection and reinforcement in that vulnerable area. 

We hope you find this guide helpful. If you would like more information about how to knock in, prepare and oil your bat in please contact chris@serioussport.co.uk.

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