Knocking-In Cricket Bat
Professional cricket bats are made out of Kashmir willow, Alba Var English willow or Salicks Caerulea wood and these woods are not strong have therefore knocking in the cricket bats become so essential, it is the process of knocking the bat with either a mallet or using a hardball in a sock and letting the sock hang on a rope and let it come lose to the batsman who is knocking in the bat.
Also, there is another newer technology developed, which is using a machine to knock in the cricket bat. The top qualities of English willow are improved during manufacturing through the pushing and drying of the wood.
Do Cricket bats come knocked in
Some bats do come in pre knocked in form, but you must further knock it in to make sure that your bat becomes hard enough to sustain the pressure of a hard cricket ball. This process is very vital and must not be taken lightly.
While the suppliers can pre-prepare a cricket bat, it is still the individual’s obligation to make certain that the cricket bat is totally prepared for the right scenario. The words ‘all set to play’ do not stand for invincible; you ought to still maintain, store and also fix your cricket bat in the proper manner.
Even if you prefer to have your cricket bat come in without knocked in, then you can only have your bats with oil applied in this way you will be in control to knock in your cricket bat right away without worrying to oiling it.
How long does it take to knock a cricket bat in?
Depending on the type of your bat and the softness of its willow could take up to 6 hours, but however, if applying extratec, then in this situation, the process should be reduced and take only 4 hours to complete instead of 6 hours.
You can start the knocking in the process by using a mallet; this mallet comes in two shapes one is a ball mallet, which is a wooden mallet with a ball at the end, and the other one is wooden mallet all together.
You can choose either one of them; they both are very similar for knocking in a cricket bat and enables you to have greater control during the knocking in process.
Does Cricket bat get damaged without knocked in?
All cricket bats will endure wear and tear during use, which is perfectly fine, and hitting a ball that is coming towards you with a speed of at least 100 mph your bat can easily show signs of wear and tear over the time. Normal wear and tear will show signs like surface cracking to the face and edges and also discoloration of the blade; in these cases, the performance of the bat will not be affected, and you can ignore these signs but use proper handling and maintenance.
What really can damage a cricket bat is misuse, incorrect storage, mistimed strokes, edges to the slip fielder while executing a shot, improper maintenance, and using your cricket bat again lower standard cricket balls and using it a wet condition.
If you come across seeing your bat like this or have gone through some of the scenarios mentioned above, then you should refer to the proper assessment of the bat by either contacting the manufacturer or reading up on their manual or guide book immediately.
How do you know when your cricket bat is knocked in
There are various ways to find out whether your cricket bat is knocked in properly or not the first way to know is to have someone bowl at you while your are batting, and when you hit the ball you will hear the sound it makes, listen to it carefully a well knocked in bat will make a confident, quiet sound, and on the other hand, a not so well knocked in bat will make a shallow sound. This is a very good technique for knowing if your cricket bat is knocked in properly or not.
The other way to find out if your cricket bat is knocked in properly is to have someone bowl at you in the nets at least 4 to 5 overs, and after playing different types of shots you can then check the bat and see if there are any seam marks denting the bat surface, if you find some dents and marks showing the exact match then, unfortunately, your cricket bat is not knocked in well yet, and you should go for further knocking in.
Also, another way to tell if your cricket bat is knocked in properly by checking on its weight after the knocking is done. You should easily be able to compare the weight, compare it with when you bought the bat first, and after you are done knocking in a well knocked in bat will feel much lighter than when you bought it brand new.
Can I Knock my Cricket bat without Oiling first?
Oiling before knocking in your cricket bat is very crucial and must not be skipped at any cost. Oiling makes your new cricket bat last longer as it helps in maintaining the moisture level of the fibers within the blade, which makes it soft. Which also later on helps a lot in knocking in stage, regardless of what you use, whether it is a mallet or an old leather cricket ball the oil moisture will help the bat fibers stay soft within the blade so you get a better knocking in performance.
The knocking-in cricket bat is a long process and takes a lot of trials and errors. You will notice the difference as you are knocking in your cricket bat; the more echoey your bat sounds, the better it is, and the more it sounds hollow, the more it needs knocking in.
Do not start practicing until your bat sounds like a Willow and not wood. (HOLLOW SOUND). If you feel your bat is knocked in well and is ready for oiling only, then you should oil your bat, always use linseed oil for this purpose. Once you are done oiling, you can then leave your bat in your bathroom for a night and let it absorb some moisture because knocking in makes your cricket bat somewhat dry.
Do not let any water drop on your bat as it will destroy your bat. Your cricket bat would be able to absorb moisture on its own just by staying in the bathroom for a night. You can repeat this process of leaving your bat in the bathroom at least once a week, and this process will help your bat keep the required moisture in it and not too much, so it damages inside. Do this, and your bat will last a lot longer, and you will also be able to hit a lot more boundaries than you usually can.
How to knock-in a cricket bat
Nowadays, cricket bats are knocked in using machine methods, and many retailers are using this method as it is much faster than knocking every single bat manually. We will be covering up the good old manual knocking in the method. Manual knocking is still the best method, and if you got a bat that is pre-knocked in, you should still knock in a little bit more to further enhance its performance and longevity.
Now you know that manually knocking is the most beneficial way to knock in your cricket bat, you must also know that this is one of the intimidating prospects, it can be very loud and noisy also tiring can easily take hours and not to forget if you are not careful you can damage your bat. If this is your first time doing this job, then follow the instruction very carefully.
- Start by applying raw linseed oil or any other special cricket bat oil of your choice, but make sure you research about that oil first. Apply it on the edges, face, and back of your bat. Apply only two light coats just enough to darken it slightly. Once this process is done, keep your cricket bat in a dry place so the oil can soak in and dry itself, leave it for at least 24 hours after each coat.
- Hold your cricket at a 45 degrees angle and start knocking in from the toe to the shoulder on each edge. You can use a special wooden mallet made for this purpose; only tap your bat lightly using this mallet. The edges of the cricket bat are very soft and are vulnerable to cracking, most especially if there is heartwood. Be extra cautious as this is the most critical part of the whole knocking in process.
Start very lightly and then gradually increase the force until you see the edges are becoming smoother and round. You will see this happening if you are using the right force and increasing it gradually. Be careful with the should of the cricket bat apply less force there but as much to make the edges rounded. This process must be continued until you see the edges are not rounding anymore. Ideally, do this at least for fifteen minutes on each edge.
- Next is the toe of your bat, this side will have to be knocked square on. As previously you did, this time as well start tapping the toe of the bat very gently and then gradually increase the force of tapping. You will start noticing the indentation is appearing, continue this process until no more indentation is left.
- Now move to the rest of your bat, knock in all the areas, including the sweet spot. Since these areas are stronger than the edges and toe, still be careful, you can hit a bit harder than you did on edges on the toe of your bat. Start by tapping it lightly and then gradually increase the force as you did previously on other parts of your bat. You can knock everywhere, even the parts where the stickers are placed but avoid the splice. Continue to knock in your bat for a little while and apply as much force as you can, just like how you would like to hit the ball in a live cricket match. Stop this process when you do not see any more indenting.
- For this step, you need to stop knocking the bat with the mallet you had been using and now take the oldest ball you can get and start bouncing it on the bat. Test all the areas of the blade and check for any seam marks, if they do appear then spend about half an hour more to knock on those areas and then do the bouncing ball test again on your bat and if now you do not see any seam marks appearing then pat your back you have successfully knocked in your cricket bat properly.
- This step is an option but highly recommended, as this will prolong the life of your cricket bat. After you have finished knocking in your cricket bat, take an adhesive anti-scuff sheet or fiberglass edge tape, both of these are known to stick really well once the bat is knocked in properly. If you decide to use this option as well, then be sure to use any one of the two methods at least after four to five days since you last applied oil coat on your cricket bat. Usually, by these many days, oil has dried up, and anti-scuff sheet or fiberglass edge tape sticks very well. Use your judgment as well, run your finger across the blade of the bat and see if it has dried up fully before using this method.
- Now, your bat is ready for the next stage called “play it in” this means your newly knocked bat must go through a test before you take it out to the middle. This test is done in the nets against an old leather ball or a bowling machine. You must not, in any circumstance, use your bat against a new ball as this will do serious damage to your bat. Go through at least two net sessions mainly using the defensive technique in the first net session and then gradually go for the harder strokes still mainly focus on front foot shots and keep your cross-batted shots until at least the end of the second net session.
Knocking in Cricket bat service
If you still decide to go with the professional to handle your cricket bat for knocking in service, then you can choose many services available near you. The average cost to knock in a cricket bat for in-store service is around $50.00 USD or around £27.00 to £33.33 GBP.
Also, these costs will vary depending on the level of service you would like to have. If you want to go for all in e.g., oiling, knocking in, anti-scuff sheet, and lastly, edge tape application, then the cost will go up definitely, so bear that in mind if you are taking your bat for this kind of service.
The turnaround time depends on whether you have brought the bat into the store physically or mailed it using the postage service. In most cases, the turnaround times are ten days if the bats are mailed in and 3 to 4 days if the bats are locally brought in to the store physically and dropped for the service.
Knocking-in, your cricket bat, can substantially increase its longevity by preventing cracking and breaking. Also, knocking in increases the batting shots’ performance as it improves the middle (sweet spot) because this process makes this spot bigger and better.
Even then, cricket bats can break and crack because cricket requires hitting a ball hard, and the harder you hit, the further the ball goes, and hence the batsman gets the most runs this way.
If you care for your bat and keep up with its required maintenance, it will last a lot longer even after scoring (1000) runs and will perform better too.