Knocking a Cricket Bat

Knocking a new cricket bat is a tedious but highly recommended process, that includes oiling and knocking in, before using it for a game.  It is broken down into 3 steps.

  1. Oiling the Bat
    Most new bats come with a certain level of moisture that adds to their performance and durability.  The oiling process softens the wood fibers and creates a protective coating that helps retain the existing moisture and prevents the bat from drying out fully.  Some bats might need multiple (we recommend 3) coats of quality raw linseed oil, some needing fewer.  Wait 24 hours after each coat.  Once a coat of oil is applied, the bat needs to be placed horizontally on a stable surface out of sunlight, and harsh weather changes.  Do not apply too much or too little oil and do not let the bat sit in oil.
  1. Knocking the Bat
    Knocking-in is done using a quality wooden mallet after the oiling is complete.  This process is required.  This will help compress the wood fibers and create a sort of protective layer increasing performance and durability.  After each season or when the bat is not going to be used for a long period, it should be stored in a climate-controlled area and repeatedly oiled and knocked before using it again for play.
    a) Edges
    Rounding and firming up the edges protect the bat from chipping or breaking off when the ball hits the edge of the bat.  Using the mallet, softly hit the edges at an angle moving away from the edge and moving along the whole edge.  Increase the force slightly each time until the edges are nicely compressed and rounded.
    b) Face
    It is better to start with the meatiest part of the bat in the middle and go outwards in all directions until all of the bottom two-thirds of the batting face (except 3 inches of the toe.)  At each full pass, the force of the knocks can be harder to mimic hitting a fastball.  The idea is to have no seam marks or dents from a ball hitting the surface.
    c) Toe
    The bottom 3 inches of the bat is also very vulnerable especially to fast yorkers.  It could also be the least “meaty, ” meaning without proper knocking, a bat could easily break from the toe.  Start with soft blows while supporting the backside of the bat on a stable but similarly shaped surface, increasing the force at each pass.  Use a very thick cork mat or similar while using caution that the area you knock is well supported at the back as well.  Do not knock the area that is not firmly supported as this could crack the bat.
  2. Net Session
    Once a bat is sufficiently knocked in, use it to play several slow balls in the nets using a good-quality old ball and with a full face of the bat.  Increase the pace of the ball each 35 to 50 balls or so.  Check the face to see if any dents or seam marks appear.  If any, repeat steps 2 and 3 until knocking in is fully done.  Playing against a new ball should be reserved for a fully knocked-in bat.
  3. Caring for a Cricket Bat
    Here are some care tips we recommend for a cricket bat.
    a)  Use a good quality ball always. Bad-quality balls could affect the bat’s longevity and cause it to break.
    b)  It is so common to see players hitting the ball with the bat when it is on the ground.  Do not do so. This stresses the toe of the bat which could break it.
    c) After using the bat, it should be returned to its cover or kit bag.  Never leave the bat (open or inside its cover) exposed to natural elements like rain, snow, or the sun or the trunk of a vehicle for too long.
    d)  It also must be stored in a climate-controlled area and avoid a garage where temperatures swing to a high or low.  Wood expands and contracts upon large variations in temperature which causes the bats to dry up, thus lowering their performance and longevity.