Knocking in your Cricket Bat

1: Cricket bats generally come with a wax finish there for grab a very fine sandpaper and take the wax off the area you will oil in.

Oiling. Oiling your cricket bat is the first step in the knocking in process. Using the Raw Linseed oil or Specialized bat oil lightly oil your new bat. No rocket science is involved here but it is important not to over oil your bat. Use an open weave cloth or a Chux Wipe to spread a film of oil over the main face of the bat. Ensure that the edges are also oiled and there is nothing wrong with giving the back of the cricket bat a very light coverage as well but avoid oiling the splice of the bat (the very top section of the blade). There should be enough coverage of oil on the front face of the bat so that you can see a thin film of oil on it. You should NOT see any oil running if you stand the bat upright. If this happens there is too much oil so wipe it away to only leave a thin film. Lie the bat down horizontally after this. After leaving it at least overnight repeat the procedure again but this time use even less oil than the first application. In other words give it only a very light rub with the same open weave cloth from before. Leave lying horizontally for at least 6 hours. After this oiling you are then ready to begin the Knocking In procedure.

2: The first step we do is to obtain the oldest, daggiest leather ball we have and then start to softly hit the front face (blade) with the ball in one hand and the bat on our laps. Have a seat in front of the TV and watch some telly because you need to do this for at least 2 hours. Warn you partner or family that this procedure could become annoying but as far as we are concerned there is nothing like sitting in front of the TV knocking in a new cricket bat.

3: Some people recommend doing this with a Wooden or Ball Bat Mallet straight from the start and you can do this immediately but put an old sock over the Mallet to soften the initial knocking in process.

4: During this process make sure that you are knocking every region of the blade. Work down the edges in a methodical fashion and then up and down through the central blade. A cricket bat is designed to hit a ball in its lower middle section, between 10 to 30 centimeters (4 to 12 inches) from the bottom, so even though you should eventually concentrate on this region you also need to knock the entire blade in as well. As much as we would like to play all of our shots from this hitting zone, even the Don miss hit a few shots.

5: Every once in a while press a fingernail lightly into the blade. At the beginning this will leave an indentation but over the entire running in procedure such marks will become harder to make.

6: After these first 2 hours with an old leather ball or the sock covered mallet have a break. If you are going to leave it overnight or have a few hours break then give the bat the absolute lightest of oil rubs with that same open weave cloth. There will be more than enough oil in the cloth already so no need to put any more oil onto the cloth.

7: The next day or after your break use a wooden Bat Mallet without its sock to begin gently tapping the face and edges of the blade. Again make sure that you cover every region of the blade. Gradually begin to increase the force of your blows. It is so important to ensure that you cover every area of the blade that a ball can hit it including the edges which should show a rounded appearance after a while. We recommend you spend another 2 hours on this procedure.

8: Running in. So now that should be 4 hours you have spent patiently running your bat in. Now you can go outside and begin to bounce that original daggy ball up and down on your bat and also hit some small catches in the back yard.

9: At this stage begin to get the feel of the cricket bat. All cricket bats have their sweet spots and you will be able to easily identify yours during this process. The sweet spot should be where you play the majority of your attacking shots from. After an hour or so of this its time to finally head off to the nets.

10: Get a mate to throw or bowl you some old leather balls in the nets. DO NOT use "compo" balls or balls that are not made from leather. DO NOT use new balls at this stage. Spend an hour playing mostly defensive strokes with the occasional gentle and well timed drive, cut or pull. Keep an eye on the face and edges of the blade. If you have knocked your cricket bat in properly these older leather balls should not be leaving any deep indentations on the blades face. If they are, then go back to the TV and continue with the original knocking in procedure.

11: That should now be 6 hours spent knocking in your cricket bat. We said it was a long process and I suppose that is why some people prefer to pay to have their new cricket bats run in. There is nothing wrong with paying to have you bat run in as long as it is done PROPERLY. Begin to use newer balls in the nets playing these mostly defensive and gentle attacking strokes. At this stage it is vital to keep an eye on the indentations that these newer balls make. If you have knocked it in well there should be very few signs of indentations. Spend an hour or so with these newer balls. Following this (7 hours so far) begin to use new balls in the nets. Again keep an eye on the face after each stroke and concentrate on timed shots as opposed to big hitting. Its not a bad idea to follow this net session with a brief session with the mallet once you get home. Assuming you have followed these steps your cricket bat should be ready for use under match conditions.