When first bought, natural-faced bats should be lightly sanded with 150 grit sandpaper to remove polish and then lightly oiled with cricket bat oil all over the face and the toe (except the splice as oil weakens the glue).
Place your bat in a horizontal position after oiling, as this allows the oil to soak in evenly. An extra coat should be put on the toe to protect from damp pitches and moisture retained in artificial wickets (this is especially important in New Zealand conditions).
After a few days it should be oiled again. After this, the bat only needs to be lightly oiled during the season. Always maintain sufficient oil to prevent moisture penetration. Bats with anti-scuff sheeting or poly faces do not need to be oiled on the face, but should be oiled on the toe and back. Over oiling causes as many problems as under oiling, so if you are in any doubt please bring your bat in-store for some professional help. NEVER stand the bat in oil.
All bats need knocking in, and the more thoroughly this is done the less chance there is of the bat breaking. Knocking in is best done with a cricket bat mallet. An old ball bounced up and down on the face does not do enough. The knocking in process should be undertaken with great care. How your bat is knocked in can bear directly on the performance of the bat. The bat should be repeatedly struck, with gradually increasing force, in all areas of the face below the splice where one would normally expect to hit the ball. This conditioning should be performed with patience.
We recommend you take three to four weeks when preparing your bat. Particular attention should be given to rounding the edges, although the edges and toe should not be struck directly at right angles to the blade as this could cause damage.
Once you are satisfied you have completed the knocking in process, you must then test the bat. Play with the bat in the nets using high grade old balls, face only a few balls then check your bat. If you have any seam marks or deep indentations on the blade, then your bat is not ready for match play and requires more preparation.
As every bat is different, varying times are required to knock in your bat. Cricket is a game of patience, so is bat preparation. If you have any doubts as to whether your bat is ready to play, let a member of our staff advise you.
Do not worry about small cracks in the face, this is perfectly natural. As you are hitting a hard ball with a piece of wood, minor damage will occur. This does not mean faulty wood or workmanship but natural wear and tear. With a little care these may not turn into major problems, you can sand down the area which is compressed or cracked. Always sand with the grain, not against it. Use a fine sandpaper then apply a protective facing or fibreglass tape over the crack.
It may be advisable to bring your bat into one of our craftsmen to have the cracks repaired professionally.