Process of Knocking in your Cricket Bat Properly
Knocking in is the process by which the fibres of the willow blade are compressed and knitted together to help prevent damage from the impact of a cricket ball. This is best done by using an old ball or bat mallet. It is not sufficient to hit a few balls in the nets or in the garden.
Knocking in should be done in a patient and thorough manner and should take no less than 6 hours in total . To a large extent, the effective life of your bat is determined by the thoroughness of your knocking in process. You are trying to make the toe and edges in particular harder than when the bat was purchased, to minimise the damage from an edged stroke.
How Do I Knock In My New Slazenger Bat?
Using an old ball or a bat mallet like a hammer and deflect gently off the edges the way a ball might in a game.
Increase the force and work the edges until they show a rounded, compact appearance.
Use the bat to hit short catches (i.e. very light work on the face) or bounce a cricket ball up and down on the face.
Use the bat in the nets against old softer balls.
Use the bat in the nets against newer balls.
Causes Of Damage
It is important to store your bat wisely to prevent the willow drying out and becoming brittle. Ideally you should store your bat in a garage or shed where the wood can absorb some moisture from the atmosphere.
DO NOT leave your bat close to a central heating radiator or fire.
DO NOT leave your bat in your car boot or rear window where the temperature will soar.
Toe swells due to damp.
When the toe of your bat swells this has been caused by water/dampness getting up into the wood fibres. Avoid this by doing one of the following:
Applying a light coat of oil to toe before each game.
Use of a sealant to prevent water penetrating.
Applying a toe guard before bat is used.
However if the toe of the bat is swollen there are two alternatives:
Place the toe of the bat in a woodworking vice, being careful to cushion both sides of the blade to prevent damage.
Allow damp area to dry normally then use an old ball to knock out the swollen area.
Edge and toe damage
The majority of bats will be damaged if the batsman edges a quick ball or digs out a fast yorker. The bat must be put in for repair as no willow will withstand such impact. Knocking in properly, however will reduce risk.
Willow is not manufactured. Surface cracks or crazing will appear on the face of all bats after a period of use. The knocking in period is vitally important in minimising surface cracks. Surface cracks do not harm the bats performance but proper knocking in delays the appearance of these cracks.