Your cricket bat should last more than one season with proper care and regular preventive maintenance. Two good reasons to keep them in play as long as possible: Bats are not cheap, and batsmen become very attached to them. Repairs you can do yourself range from regular maintenance, like replacing the handle rubber, to restoring the blade. And if it's a favorite bat, cricketers will agree the repairs are worth the effort.
Things You'll Need
- Bat repair tape
- Handle rubber
- Raw linseed oil
- New anti-scuff sheet
- Fine sandpaper
Wind bat repair tape a few times around the blade where, and when, you notice surface cracking. Don't use too much tape, as this will deaden the feel of the bat. Act as soon as the cracks appear, especially those across the blade. All bats experience cracking at some stage of their lives, says the English bat repair specialist Jon Gibson. (See Reference 1.)
Replace the rubber handle grip whenever it wears, cracks or perishes. Roll the new grip on gently, and tape it to the top of the blade with bat repair tape.
Wipe the bat with a dry cloth whenever it gets wet. Put it somewhere cool to dry out, but away from heat and dehumidifiers. Excessive dryness will shorten the bat's life. Apply one coat of oil when properly dry, to keep the bat moist.
Remove any anti-scuff sheet on the face of the bat at the end of the season.
Treat the bat with a coat of raw linseed oil, and apply another coat 24 hours later. Leave the bat for at least a week to let the oil sink into the willow and dry.
Apply a new anti-scuff sheet, but only when the oil is dry. Jon Gibson warns that a sheet will not stick to a bat that is still oily. If a sheet has been on the bat from the start of its life, you will not need to sand the bat.
If it has no anti-scuff sheet, sand and restore the entire blade. This gives the bat a near-new finish. Sanding keeps the willow supple, allows it to breathe, extends the bat's life and minimizes the chances of cracking. Follow this with two good coats of raw linseed oil.
Seek professional advice for anything other than these repairs, for example trying to repair large dents made by contact with metal, restoring chunks of the blade or replacing the handle.
Tips & Warnings
- Check the toe of the bat for damage, if you inadvertently hit the ground while playing a shot. Some say cricket bats are like horses' legs - once broken, they are never the same.
- Never hit anything but a cricket ball with your bat. Even a harder field hockey ball can ruin the bat. Beware of over-oiling the bat Do not try to lift off the anti-scuff sheet if that pulls off chips of wood. Seek advice.
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