Cricket Bat Care

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Cricket Bat Care

Cricket Bats – Selecting, Sizing and Caring For your new English Willow Cricket Bat

Welcome to Pure-Cricket’s guide to selecting and caring for your new cricket bat. In this guide you’ll find out how to select the correct size and weight of cricket bat to suit your style of play and physical build.

Click here for the Cricket Bat Sizing Chart

Before we advise you on the selection and care of your new bat it may be worth discussing how a cricket bat is constructed and graded.

Cricket bats are manufactured from Salix Alba Caerulea, a particularly soft and fibrous type of Willow. The highest quality Willow is commercially grown in the UK, a majority being supplied by J.S. Wright & Sons Limited in Essex. (Note: J.S.Wright and Sons web-site is well worth a visit for those with more than a passing interest in cricket bats)

Each Willow trunk is divided into ‘bat clefts’ which are about 71cm long and are shaped to closely represent a cricket bat blade. When dried the blades are graded and stacked ready for shipping.

Cricket Bat Blades are graded as follows:-

  • Grade 1 – This is the finest Willow, the cleft will be unblemished with tight straight grains, and there may be a small amount of red wood running along the side of the blade and small knots in the back or on the edge.
  • Grade 2 – This is a very good quality cleft with tight straight grain but having small visual blemishes or a larger area of red wood, neither of these slight defects will affect the blades performance.
  • Grade 3 – This blade will have more colouration and visual blemishes, again these will not affect the bats performance. In many cases this willow will be bleached to make it look more attractive.

On arrival at manufacturers’ sites the bat clefts will be left to air or in some cases kiln dried, until they reach the correct moisture levels. Once dried the clefts are worked into the correct cricket bat shape and size, then pressed to compress the willow making it more resilient to impact, less susceptible to damage.

The next stage involves sawing a ‘V’ into the blade and bonding a multi-sectioned cane and rubber sprung handle into this ‘V’. Finally cord is wound around the handle to keep the cane sections together and a rubber grip placed over the cord.

A final inspection is generally performed by the master bat maker where he will grade the bat on how it looks, picks up and feels. In some cases the cricket bats will then be oiled, faced and either hand or machine ‘Knocked In’.

Selecting your new Cricket Bat

It is important that you select the correct size and weight of cricket bat. In many cases junior cricketers purchase bats too large and heavy for their size and build in the belief that the larger the bat the further the ball will fly. In practice the blade is too cumbersome and the young cricketers timing, which is critical to developing a good technique, is way off and his performance suffers.

Our cricket bat sizing chart gives a good guide to selecting the correct bat.

Care of your new Cricket bat


Cricket Bats should be oiled and ‘Knocked In’ prior to play. This procedure should be followed even if the bat comes from a manufacturer that markets the cricket bat as Pre-Knocked In and ready to play.

You should start by oiling the blade with Raw Linseed Oil. Use an open weave cloth and spread a light layer of oil over the main face and edges of the bat, do not apply oil to the splice of the bat (the V section where the handle meets the blade).

Stand the bat vertically, if oil is running down the blade you have applied too much and should wipe off the excess to leave a light film. Sit the bat down horizontally and leave overnight. Repeat the oiling procedure but use an even lighter coat of Linseed oil. Leave the bat lying horizontally for a further 6 hours.

Knocking In

By Knocking In the cricket bat we are trying to compress the Willow fibres down the face and edges of the bat. By correctly Knocking In you will gain more driving power from the blade and will prolong the life of your bat.

You can use a wooden bat mallet or an old cricket ball to prepare the bat for play.

We advise that you start the Knocking In process by using an old cricket ball that you methodically tap down the edges and along the blade of the bat for up to 2 hours. If you prefer to use a bat mallet cover the mallet for this first stage with an old sock to soften the blows. Ensure that all areas of the bat receive attention.

You can check your progress by lightly pressing the blade with your finger nail. At the beginning this will leave an indentation but towards completion it will be harder to leave a mark.

The next day or after a break it is time to use a wooden bat mallet. Gently tap the face and edges ensuring all areas receive attention. Gradually increase the force of the blows; you should spend about a further 2 hours with the mallet. Now the blade will be very hard to mark and the edges slightly rounded.

So now you’ve spent 4 hours patiently preparing your bat (and annoying everyone else in the house!) you’re ready to go to the nets. Get a friend to bowl old balls, at this stage you should get a feel for the bat; where the sweet spot is, how it drives and does the ball sound good off the blade. Keep can eye on the bat; the old ball should not leave any large indentations, if it does return to the bat mallet.

Finally you’re ready for the Cherry. Start by playing against slow to medium paced bowling; the new ball should not be causing damage, if everything looks ok you’re ready to dispatch the Quickie to the boundary.

Happy batting

Article produced and edited by Simon Brandon Marketing