Bat Care

Oiling your bat
All natural faced bats must be treated using raw linseed or a specialist cricket bat oil. The main purpose of oiling is to maintain moisture levels within the blade, and hence reduce the chances of cracking and splitting. However, you should be wary of over oiling your bat as this can be as damaging as applying too little oil!
Light coats should be applied to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade - taking care to avoid the stickers or logos and the splice area. Allow the bat to dry. Generally two or three coats should be sufficient. Each coat should be allowed to dry into the blade in a slightly elevated horizontal position from handle down before the next light coat is applied.
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, which 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 one
The 'knocking in' process should be undertaken carefully, using a special bat mallet or an old, quality cricket ball. 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 as this would be likely to cause damage. This stage should take in the region of six hours, although it may vary as every bat is different.
Stage two
The next step is to graduate to 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 three
Once these steps have been taken, the bat should be ready for use in the nets against an old soft cricket ball. Ideally play in a defensive manner and avoid genuine fast bowling. If the seam of the ball marks the face of the bat resume the ‘knocking in’ process.
Top Tip — Apply an anti-scuff sheet facing or similar cover to the bat for ultimate protection. This does not negate the requirement to 'knock in' the bat. The cover may assist the durability of the bat, but under no circumstances will it totally prevent surface damage.
1 - Never over oil your cricket bat
2 - Do not stand the bat in oil
3 - Do not stand the bat in a vertical position after oiling
4 - Do not hit the edges at right angles
5 - Do not hit the back of the bat
Under no circumstances should a bat be used in match conditions before the recommended steps have been completed, including at least six hours of knocking in.