How to Knock in a Cricket Bat

Getting a new cricket bat is all part of the excitement of preparing for a new season and knocking it in is an essential, if not tedious, job.

It is important to knock in your new cricket bat before taking it out to the nets or field of play so as to compress the willow fibres. Knocking your bat knits the fibres together so that the bat becomes tougher and is better equipped to withstand the hard impact of striking the ball.

Without knocking in a cricket bat before play, you will struggle to reach peak performance and it is likely the lifespan of the bat will not be anywhere near as long as if you had knocked it in beforehand.

How Long to Knock in a Cricket Bat

Unfortunately, it does take some time to knock in a new cricket bat. You will be striking your bat around 20,000 times with a mallet (or any other suitable object).

This means that you should aim to knock your bat in when you have a few hours of time to spare, and ideally when no one else is around as it is a noisy job! Overall, you should expect to spend around four or five hours knocking in an adult bat and two to three hours on a junior bat – so you might prefer to knock in your cricket about over several sessions if you would prefer.

How to Knock in a Cricket Bat Without a Mallet

If you do not have a mallet to hand then you can also knock in your cricket bat using an old ball in a sock or mounting an old ball on a short handle, thus replicating a mallet.

How to Knock in a Cricket Bat

Firstly, get yourself some headphones or earplugs. This is going to be a noisy job so you will want to protect your ears. On each section of the bat, you should first begin with slightly lighter strikes before moving gradually into more intense. You should also oil the bat before knocking in with raw linseed oil (not cooked linseed oil as this will remove the moisture from the wood) which will help to soften the fibres of the wood, making it easier to compress and let it set for 24 hours.

Begin with the edges of the cricket bat, working from top to bottom. You should expect to spend roughly 30 minutes knocking in each side. To knock your bat in correctly, you should strike the bat with a mallet at a 45-degree angle.

When you think you have finished each side, hold the bat up to the light and check to see if your strikes are continuing to make any indentations to the surface. If they are, then you should continue to strike the edges – you will know you are finished when you can no longer see indentations after striking the bat.

Once you are satisfied that the edges of the bat have been knocked in, you should then move to the toe of the bat. Again, expect to spend around half-an-hour knocking in this section of the bat, working from left to right all the way across the bottom. This is the least sensitive area of the bat. Same as before, hold the bat up to the light to check for indentations and move on once satisfied.

The middle of the bat is the next area, and this will be where you will spend the longest time knocking in your cricket bat. Follow the same process as you did with the edges and toe of the bat. When you think you have finished, hold the bat up to a light and check for indentations. A good method for checking whether the middle of the bat has been knocked in is to use a real cricket ball, hitting it off the surface – if there are no visible marks or dents, then the bat has been knocked in.

Once the bat has been knocked in, all that is left is to take it for a spin and strike a few deliveries in the nets. Have fun!

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