A bat is your most priceless cricket gear, isn’t it?
When you went to buy a bat, You should have a lot of dream with that. After all, it’s going to be your best companion. You must have to take care this companion like your most lovable thing.
I am writing this article so you can know how to knock in cricket bat.
If you did not buy a new bat yet and planning to buy then read my another article Ultimate guide to buy cricket bat
What you should do just after buying a bat?
Cricket bats are made with a soft and fibrous wood that called English willow(Salix Alba Caerulea).
To maximize the life of the bat it is strongly recommended that you should not play with the bat just after purchasing.
You must ensure that you first prepare your bat properly to use in ground or net for better stroke and long life. Because of the willow used in bat, it’s blade is soft, so you have to compress that and make it hard enough to bear the pressure of the ball.
A cricket bat without oiling and knocking can also perform, but ready to use bat will do better than this.
So how to make it for ready to use? Here are some steps…keep reading
Knocking & Oiling the cricket bat
Oiling and knocking are the must-do steps for a new bat, without it does not only cause poor performance but also it can break easily.
Many brands come with ready to use –pre knocked– tag, but you should do further oiling and knocking.
Do you know what oil we should use for cricket bat?
Answer: The raw linseed oil (Alsi oil – in Hindi)
It can be purchased on a cricket bat shop or online. Below are some links which you can refer to buy.
Cooked linseed oil also available in the market, make sure you use only raw linseed oil.
Why we should use linseed oil only?
Answer: linseed oil helps to maintain the moisture level of fibers within the blade and make it soft. So when you will knock with a mallet or old ball it will easily compress the fibers of timber.
How much should be used at a time?
Answer: 1-2 teaspoon should be the correct amount. Make sure you applied a light coat of oil, you should not see the oil flowing on the bat. If this happens, then wipe it because over oil can deaden the fiber of timber and that will affect the performance.
How to apply oil on the cricket bat
Answer: Oil should be applied to the face, edge, toe, and back of the blade.
- Take one teaspoon and spread it on the face of the bat
- Rub the oil onto the face of the blade with cotton, chux wipe or with your fingers. I do it with my fingers and palm.
- Coat the complete face of the blade except for stickers
- Avoid oiling the splice area
- Many of the bats come with a protective plastic coating, you should avoid oiling this with the new bat as it itself protect the bat moisture. After a year, you can remove the coat, clean the bat and oil it.
- Do not do over oiling
- Do not stand the bat vertically while oiling or even after oiling
- Keep bat flat on a plain surface
Once you are done with oiling then let it dry for 24 hrs.
After 24 hrs, check if there is any oil you see which are not absorbed If you find it then wipe it. Take a very fine sandpaper (grade 180 to 220) and rub the face of the bat lightly.
Re-apply a very thin layer of oil again and let it dry for next 24 hrs. You can do this coating twice or maximum thrice.
After the oiling, you are ready for next step – knocking off the cricket bat.
Knocking the cricket bat
Knocking is the process where we improve the strength of the bat by compressing the fibers of the willow so bat can be powerful enough to hit the ball which comes with the speed of 90mph.
Why do cricket bats need knocking?
Answer: I have seen many bats which broken in the first week after purchase and that because these were not knocked.
Knocking is required because the most of the bats are made with a soft and fibrous willow, so being a professional cricketer you need a bat with strength.
Knocking does not guarantee that a bat will not break but it definitely makes bat stronger than without knocking bat.
How to do knocking of a cricket bat?
Answer: You have to go through to three steps to complete the knocking of the bat.
- Step#1 – Use bat mallet
You would need a good quality bat mallet. You should do the knocking carefully. You need to increase the force of hitting gradually, hitting hard can cause of damage.You will have to keep patience as it is not a quick process, you will need to hit the bat for approximately six hours.
You should be careful with the edges and do not hit the back of the bat.
- Step#2 – Use the old leather ball
Take an old good quality leather ball and start to practice the short catches with that. If you see any mark or crack do the step one again and do it for another hour.
- Step#3 – Practice in nets
Your bat strength is gradually increasing so you should increase the usage of the bat. Now, your bat is ready to be used in nets against the old ball. Start playing the slow or medium ball in a defensive manner and gradually start playing fastball.
That’s it, no rocket science. Your bat is now READY to hit a big score.
NOTE: Bat should not be used in a match until the knocking is done
Maintainance of old cricket bat
Well, the most important thing is you should take care of your bat like your pet.
Love it and care about it.
Keep it in the bag if you are not playing, Do not put your bag on wet or high moisture area.
Oiling and knocking off the old cricket bat
You should do the oiling and knock off your cricket bat once in a year. The new bat was clean enough so it was easy to start the oiling.
But, in used bat, you would first need to clean it properly by using a sandpaper. You can use grade 180 to 220 for sandpaper.
If there is a protective plastic coating on the bat then it’s going to be a more difficult task for you. You first will have to remove the plastic coating. You can use the paint thinner to make it soft. So removing the coating can be a little easy.
Once you removed the coating, start rubbing the bat surface gently and clean the bat, do it on the front, back, edges and toe too.
Ok, now you are done with cleaning, it’s time to do the oiling and knocking again. This time, do a very thin coating of the oil.
Handle grip – Keep an extra with you
Having a perfect grip on the bat gives you a good feel while you are batting. So make sure you have a good grip on your bat. Keep an extra grip always in your kit and the cone set to roll the grip.
Have a protective coating on cricket bat for longevity
By default, all new bats come with fiberglass protection tape coating and that’s actually good for the bat longevity. Although some experts say protective coatings to be removed from bats in order to achieve the most accurate thermal imaging results. You can read an interesting article on this topic on espncricinfo.com.
You should change the coating of your bat once in a year and, I think the best is you do the oiling, knocking and changing the coating altogether.
Toe guard – protect bottom of the bat
If you remove the toe guard, you would see that the bottom edge(Toe) does not have any coating and if you put a drop of water on that it will be absorbed by bat so quickly. So, without a toe guard, it might be that your bat can absorb the moisture from the pitch when you tap it.
- Buy a new toe guard and fix it on toe of the batThe new bat comes with a toe guard. If you regularly play with your bat, the toe guard is the first thing which gets damaged. So, you would have to frequently change the toe guard.
- Juggad – Do it your own wayJugaad is the Hindi word which used to for if you do something unconventional to achieve a goal.What can you do this?You can take Fevikwick and put the drop of it on all the toe part. The bat will absorb it and, it will make a layer of Fevikwick which will not allow water to go inside of willow.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do not show your anger on the bat when you are out.
Do not take your bat in rain or high moisture area. If it gets wet then immediately dry it.
Do not over oil the bat.
Do proper knocking of your new bat
Do oiling, knocking and, coating change at-least once in a year
Do place your bat on cool dry location, keep away from moisture and excessive heat.
Do go for the match and hit a big score.
You learned how to take care of your bat, So now make sure your bat is as fit as you are to score high.
If you have any question feel free to comment, I will try my best to answer at earliest.