Bat Care

  • Summer Care

    Willow has a natural moisture content and ideal storage conditions should allow natural absorption of moisture. An obvious comment you would think but bat breakage is often caused by poor storage. If you leave your bat in a warm, centrally heated room or next to a fire, it will dry out, go brittle and be susceptible to damage. If you leave your bat lying on a damp surface, it will absorb too much moisture and the toe will become swollen. The ideal place for a bat over winter is in a garage or shed with a sealed floor - this will provide sufficient but not excessive moisture. If the floor is not sealed, support the bat above the floor.

    Winter Care

    Temperatures in a car, even in a British summer, will reach a level that will dry out a bat as if it had been left next to a fire or radiator. Wherever possible, remove your bat from the car as soon as possible and store as per `winter care` above. Every 20 days during the season give the bat a light coat of oil to preserve the juice in the willow and to keep the fibres of the willow elastic. This will not only prolong the life of the bat but will enhance the ping.

  • Natural Damage

    Top grade English willow or Kashmiri willow, wide or narrow grains, fully knocked in or not, a cricket bat is a natural product. No one can determine when or where your bat will `go`. While yorkers and outside edges are the most common instances where bat damage will occur, surface cracks will appear on all bats without effecting performance. So it is always wise to take good care of your bat, helping to prolong it`s life as long as possible, it is a tool of the trade and will not last for ever.

  • Handles

    The cricket bat handle is susceptible to an incredible amount of strain due to the nature of the way that the ball is played. The section about an inch above the shoulders is the weakest point. This can break very easily when a ball is driven with gusto at the very base of the bat (the toe). The bat is endeavouring to pivot around the bottom hand but is not being allowed to do so due to the top hand being in position to complete the effectiveness of the shot. Usually the front section of cane is fractured and so the handle would need to be replaced, best done by a manufacturer of bats or a bat repairer. Sometimes the handle becomes very flexible and has the feel of a broken handle but no fracture can be seen. This is due to the rubbers within the construction of the handle coming unstuck. Removing the string and gently pulling apart the canes sufficient to apply some adhesive should repair this. The best adhesive to use here is superglue (the thin watery kind). Once a small amount of the superglue is applied the handle can be clamped back together by rolling a few strong rubber bands down the length of the bat handle.

    If the bat feels as if it has lost a bit of power small splits are visible running parallel to the splice going downwards from the shoulders. These are sometimes very hard to effectively repair depending on the extent of the damage. On occasion these are caused by the manufacturer not bringing the handle binding down low enough to hold the shoulders together or the rubbers in the handle go too far down into the handle splice thus causing too much movement. If the splits are less than one inch long then one can help to stop them going further by soaking superglue into the crack repeatedly until the crack has filled and hardened. When the splits are noticeably longer the bat is best sent to a proper bat repairer or if still under warranty returned to the manufacturer. The splice of the bat sometimes comes away to the point of observing movement when the handle is flexed. Applying superglue to the small hairline cracks visible can also repair this.

  • The Toe

    The base of the bat (the toe) is very susceptible to damage. The balanced design of a cricket bat means that this is the weakest part of the willow blade and yet is subjected to the fastest ball and bat speed at point of impact. Yorkers are the worst kind of bat breaking ball to be bowled and most toe breakage is as a result of receiving one. The Yorker can often result in a vertical crack running up the length of the blade on the front and back of the bat. If the crack is only and inch or two long it can be repaired by the simple superglue method described earlier. If the cracks are longer than two inches a good quality PVA adhesive should be used. This will require clamping. PVA is used as it is slightly elastic and absorbs the impact of a ball well. It is incorrect to use epoxies as they will crack very easily as they do not have the flexibility of PVA. Doweling is also used to help with the repair of this kind of crack but from experience it does not work consistently well. Doweling creates a weak point so that the bat then breaks around the dowel. I recommend going to a professional bat repairer for any major work to be done on the toe of the bat. A thin smear of raw linseed oil a few times over the season is strongly advised to counter dry Aussie and sub-continent conditions which makes the blade of the bat dry and brittle. Oiling is also advisable to dispel moisture that may seep into the toe when batting on a wet wicket in English and Kiwi conditions.

  • The Face & Edges

    The face and edges of the bat receive a continuous battering and they must be looked after to ensure they last and the middle performs well. The bat needs to be prepared as per the knocking in guidelines given on our website. The use of raw linseed oil is crucial to ensure that the face and edges survive the impact of the ball. Once in use the face will start to crack in horizontal lines across the grain. This is quite normal together with small vertical cracks on the blade. The best way to deal with this is to use the superglue method to help reinforce the willow and then apply an adhesive facing. The best adhesive facing available on the market is a product we stock which has been specially developed overseas for Cricket bats after intensive research. We actually sell this adhesive facing for the benefit of our valuable customers. The face of your cricket bat will sometimes keep going for more than a season before it starts cracking if you look after it - it happens differently in every bat. As mentioned for the toe of the bat a thin smear of raw linseed oil over the face and edges helps the bat to retain its own moisture and reduces the rate of cracking due to allowing the fibres to stretch rather than crack. When superglue is used, it sometimes leaves a residue around the split area. This can be sanded off with fine grade sandpaper; apply a dab of raw linseed after the repair is fully dried. The glue is the thin watery kind that is available at your nearest hardware store. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of the very latest in cricket bat care advice as well as information on general bat maintenance and protection. Whilst there is no shortage of good advice on how best to care for your cricket bat there are unfortunately some bat care myths which some people still subscribe to today. As the worlds number one supplier of custom made cricket bats handcrafted by the best cricket bat makers in world cricket Matrrixx is well placed to offer the very latest and absolute facts on cricket bat care and maintenance. Needless to say all the advice below is universally supported by all of our master bat makers.

  • Knocking & Running In

    Cricket bats are made from a fairly soft and fibrous material called willow or Salix Alba Caerulea. With cricket balls being delivered like missiles at up to 90mph against your cricket bat it is obviously advisable to prepare your blade so as to achieve optimal performance, resistance and Longevity. This process is referred to as Knocking or Running your cricket bat in.

    "All cricket bats purchased new must be run in"

    Running In as outlined above is a process of ensuring that the owner of a new cricket bat prepares it for use against a new and hard cricket ball. All bats must be run in to both ensure the maximum performance of your cricket bat and to ensure its maximum life span. There are cricket bats from some companies which are available new and 'ready to use' but we and others are not overly convinced about the merit of such an option as there is every possibility that these cricket bats may be 'over pressed'. Over pressing a cricket bat will extend a bats life span but will also and detrimentally reduce the performance and ping of your bat. A cricket bat should be crafted to provide optimal ping and performance and by knocking in such a bat properly yourself you are then able to extend the lifespan of your cricket bat. Running a cricket bat in is in fact a very simple process but it must be done correctly. Please ensure that you run your bat in properly after purchase and before use against new cricket balls in the nets or in matches. A cricket bat which has not been run in may still perform ok but it will perform much better and last a lot longer if it has been run in properly. It is well worth investing a few hours over a few days to ensure your bat is run in correctly. Matrrixx Cricket bats will come in a natural polished willow finish. This is universally accepted as the best finish for a cricket bat because they can be both oiled and used as is or be applied with a Cricket bat Facing material.

  • Oiling

    On ordering your Matrrixx Cricket bat we will have liased with you with regards to your cricket bat and how you would like it to arrive. The options here are fully knocked in, as is, a 'pre app' of oil as well as the various Bat Facing options. All of these numerous options are simple and self explanatory procedures which we will outline with you prior to ordering. For the purposes of this procedural explanation let us assume your cricket bat arrives as is in a natural polish finish. Oiling your cricket bat is the first step in the knocking in process. Using Raw Linseed 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. Again, this is not rocket science - it is a simple procedure to follow.

  • Knocking In

    By knocking your cricket bat in we are trying to harden and knit the fibrous textures of the face of your bat before we expose it to a new cricket ball being bowled at 90 mph. This is the most crucial process of running your bat in. A cricket bat that is run in correctly will provide you with more driving power and also have a much longer life span. We prefer the following technique to knocking in although our method is probably over the top. Either way its your choice. 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. 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. 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 cms (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 Don Bradman miss hit a few shots.

    Every once in a while press a finger nail 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. 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. 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. Running a cricket bat in must require patience. You simply will not get the best out of any cricket bat unless you spend this time correctly running it in. Your investment of time will be well worth it as there is nothing like a well run in cricket bat. Your diligence and patience during this process will be well rewarded. So now that should be 4 hours you have spent patiently running your bat.