When you get a cricket bat, you are bound to be filled with excitement. After all, a new bat means that all the shots you play will have the ball racing to the boundary. It doesn’t matter what your age is, the thought of cracking a straight drive or pulling a short ball for a boundary is a feeling that all of us love. It is due to the love of the game that we end up feeling these emotions. But it is also important to know how to take care of the bat. If you do not do this, the bat’s life will be reduced and also the performance of the bat will suffer. This is where we are going to help you identify ways in which you can do this. If you are like us, then the bat is more of an emotion that an object. We have broken down bat care into four different topics so you can get a better understanding. Let us see what has to be done.
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How To Keep Your Cricket Bat In Good Condition
Before you can start using it, you can take a few steps to ensure the safety of your bat. The ball is going to be coming at you at high speeds, so it is good for the bat to have some protection. One of the best ways to do this is with the help of tape that can be put on the edges and front end. You can get tapes with differing thickness to suit your style of play. The tape will hold the bat in place and prevent the impact of the ball from causing wear and tear. Doing this will give the bat an extra layer of strength and durability. The best part about the tape is that it can be used on all parts of the bat. You can use it on the face, the toe and even the edges. Getting the appropriate thickness is important. For this we suggest:
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Bat Face & Edge Tapes
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How To Protect Your Cricket Bat
And if you want to kick things up a notch then you can make use of a substance known as Extratec. This is a film that will be applied to the hitting area of the bat. It is used by almost everyone as it preserves the integrity of the bat. Sometimes the bat will come with this pre-applied but if that is not the case, you can buy and stick it. Think of it in the same way a screen protector works for a phone. For this, we recommend.
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Best Cricket Bat Protection Sheet
Best Cricket Bat Protection Tape
How To Protect Your Cricket Bat Toe
The toe of the bat is one of the more vulnerable areas and you should look to protect it. You can fix the toe guard on your own. If you skip this step, then all the other measures you take will not prove to be effective. You do not need to look too far for a good toe guard, we have you covered.
Best Cricket Bat Toe Guard
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Best Cricket Bat Toe Protector
All the measures that we have mentioned here are meant to prevent the bat from breaking or chipping. Of course, if that were to happen then there are ways to fix it but as they say, prevention is better than cure. The good news for you is that many of these protective products are sold by the bat manufacturers themselves. So, for example, if you were to get a GM bat, you could get the tape etc. from them. This ensures that you are giving the bat high-quality protection.
Best Cricket Bat Grips
Another part of the bat that has to be looked after is the handle. It happens to be one of the weaker parts of the bat. It can break or crack due to the high impact that it faces. The next time you are facing a toe-crushing yorker, you can feel the impact on the handle. So, how can you protect the handle?
An easy fix would be the grips you put on the bat. A lot of batsmen like to have more than one grip on their bat, so it fills out their hand. The other purpose behind this is that it becomes better at absorbing the impact of the ball. All of this comes down to your convenience when it comes to the grips. Think about what suits you the best and then get the right grips. All of these are easy ways to take care of the safety of your bat before you start playing. This might sound like a lot, but it is a must when you want to extend the life of your bat. What grips do we recommend?
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Preparing A Cricket Bat For Play
Now that you have set up the bat, you might be thinking that it is time to start whacking the ball to all parts of the ground. You are almost there; with a few more steps you and your bat will be all set to do just this. There are two key activities that you have to do at this stage of the bat’s life. They are known as oiling and knocking. While oiling is self-explanatory knocking is a different matter, but it is integral in taking care of a bat. The first process you need to think of is the oiling. This is essential in loosening the fibres present in the bat and makes it supple and flexible. Once this is done, it will be able to handle any amount of force that you put on it. So, if you have ignored this step, you will not be getting any power behind those vicious square cuts.
How to Oil a Cricket Bat
Using the right kind of oil is necessary and we would suggest that you go with linseed oil as it is the most commonly used oil. It is better to use raw linseed oil and if you can’t get that, go for special bat oil. You do not have to oil the entire bat, just focus on the face, toe and edges. It is advisable to apply as much as 5-6 coats of the oil. You can apply this oil with the help of a piece of cloth that is soft. The amount that is usually recommended is around one teaspoon each to the face, toe and edges. Repeat this process 5-6 times. Dry the bat while it is a horizontal as this will prevent oil from being wasted. Once this is over, it is time to move on to the knocking. If you are looking to buy linseed oil, check these options
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Best Cricket Bat Oil
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How to Knock a Cricket Bat
When you are knocking a bat, you are compressing the willow that is present in it. This will make sure that the willow gets strengthened and will allow you to hit the ball properly. The most common way of doing this is with the help of a mallet. You can get a wooden mallet and we would suggest.
Best wooden mallet for cricket bat
Best Cricket Bat Mallet
Some manufacturers are considerate enough to do the hard work for you. But if that has not yet taken place, you can get the mallet and start pounding away. You should start by hitting the middle of the bat. Keep hitting it with the mallet until you can see a visible dent in the middle. Once that happens you can start knocking around the dent and the face of the bat to make it level. The other areas you should focus on are the toe and the edges. With the toe, you must not use the mallet at the absolute bottom as that will end up damaging the bat. When you hit the edge of the bat, hit it an angle as the full face of the mallet should not be meeting the edge. Follow these steps and your bat will become strong and ready to play.
Taking Care Of The Bat After Playing
Once you are done playing, you might be thinking that your job is done and that there’s nothing left for you to do. This is not the case as any bat is still susceptible to some form of damage happening. Since it is made from wood, one of the biggest enemies to any cricket bat is moisture. If the bat comes into contact with this, it can end up warping the wood. The best place to store a bat is one where there it will not be in direct contact with any form of moisture. It should be free from humidity as well. We would also suggest that you store it in a horizontal position as it preserves the integrity of the bat. Keeping the bat away from any source of heat is essential if you do not want the wood to get hampered. It can end up bending the willow and make it unusable.
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Protect Your Cricket Gear With Good Quality Bat Covers
Another measure you can take to ensure that the bat is safe is to use a kit bag. These days, you can find these bags that come with their own cover for the bat alone. Getting this will give some extra attention to the bat and add an extra layer of security. You can decide between getting the cover alone or you can possibly get the whole kit bag. What can do a good job?
Best Cricket Bat Full Size Cover
Best Cricket Bat Full Length Cover
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How To Repair The Cricket Bat
Chipping & Minor Cracks
Despite your best efforts, the bat can chip during play, but you need not panic as these chips can be taken care of. Sometimes the speed at which a ball hits the ball can influence the chip but if you present the bat in a proper fashion, you will be fine. The bat will be fine with very small chips and you will not notice any difference in the way it plays.
When you have any cracks in the face or the edges, using glue is the best way to solve it. Fill in the gaps with any super glue and let it rest. Once that is done, use some sandpaper to sand down the damaged area. This will take care of any extra wood particles that may be sticking out. And don’t forget to put some tape on this area as that will fortify the repair job you did. All of this can be done on your own.
But what glue can you use? Here’s what we recommend
Best Wood Glue for Fixing Cricket Bats
Handy Kit For Repair And Protection
If you are a regular player and travel a bit, this handy kit can be of great help in fixing your bat on the spot. It is not too costly and anyone can learn how to use it.
Best Cricket Bat Repair Kit
Though it is easy to use superglue and fix the handle, we suggest you approach the nearest sports store to get this done as this would need a vice and other equipment and is best handled by experts.
A cricket bat is made of wood and like all wood this too can break over time. But technology and bat care too has evolved over the years and most broken bats can be mended. However, this is again a job for professionals as it involves a lot of specific equipment and tools that we would not have. But don’t give up on your old bat that easy! Take it to the nearest sports store and get their opinion.
Here is a link that can give you a great idea about how even bats given up as beyond repair can be mended. A series of videos from J P Gavan Cricket Channel. There are equally skilled artisans in India who can do excellent work. So, if you had paid handsomely for that old bat of yours, make every effort to salvage it before looking at buying a new one!
JPGavan Cricket channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFNm9cwtyl2HF6ignDGy1tA
Simple Tips To Prolong The Life of Your Bat
There is a normal wear and tear that will happen to your bat when the bat is used over a period of time. You cannot prevent wear and tear from happening, but it is possible to take care of the bat to prolong its life. However tempting it is, do not play with any foreign object using the bat. This includes little stone, metal balls or anything that is not associated with cricket. More often than not, it is the small mistakes we make that end up affecting the bat.
So take care of that bat well and it will take care of your batting! Here is to many centuries filled with boundaries and sixers!
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