At World Class Willow we advise the following to ensure your bat is maintained so that it prolongs its life.
Store your bat in a dry, cool environment avoiding excessive heat, damp or cold.
Ensure that your bat has been knocked in properly (see below).
Avoid unnecessary or aggressive ‘tapping’of the bat particularly on hard or excessively wet pitches.
If your bat becomes unavoidably wet allow it to dry naturally and seek advice if swelling occurs.
Only use your cricket bat against balls specifically designed for cricket and avoid use against cheap balls which are often unusually hard and have pronounced seams. It is not good practice to use new balls in the nets and this should be avoided.
The use of a bat cover when not playing will protect your bat from unnecessary wear and tear.
The use of anti scuff, edge tape and a toe guard are likely to prolong the life of your bat.
Almost all bats require knocking in before use in order to protect the bat and prevent cracking and also to improve the performance and size of the middle.
Please note that damage cannot be entirely eliminated due to the hard nature of the ball and its contact with a moving bat. However, the longer spent knocking in your bat the better it will be placed to withstand the impact of the ball.
Apply a teaspoon of raw linseed oil (many believe that this softens the surface and makes the fibres more pliable and allows retention of moisture) and leave overnight and repeat.*
Begin the knocking in process using a hardwood bat mallet (the very best are made from lignum vitae and are available on request from WCW). An old ball is acceptable but will not prove as beneficial or as efficient.
Start with the face of the bat by hitting the middle just hard enough to create a small indentation.
The indentation can be seen by holding the bat upto the light. Continue until all indentations have blended together across the face of the bat unto the edges.
The bottom of the bat must not be hit with a bat mallet. To knock in the edges strike them at 45 degrees just hard enough to make a small indentation and continue until there is a smooth rounded appearance and it blends into the face.
Do not use the mallet on the back of the bat.
Do not hit the edge of the bat at 90 degrees as this is likely to increase the chance of cracking.
The knocking in process is likely to take 8 hours but dependent on the experience of the user and best completed in a series of 20-30 minute sessions.
Following the knocking in it is advisable to use the bat in the nets against an old ball or against a bowling machine. If seam marks or dimples appear further knocking in is required.
Please note that oiling a bat is a matter of preference – should you choose not to it will not negate the Warranty. An anti scuff facing and edge tape negates the need for oil.