Looking after bats, balls, wickets and other equipment
Clean and restore your bat in 6 easy steps
Follow this routine at the end of each season and before the start of the new one, and your bat will stay in good condition for many years.
- Clean your bat with a warm soapy sponge to get rid of ingrained dirt or stains. Do not wet the splice where the handle joins the bat. If you haven't cleaned your bat for a few years, a nail brush may do the job better. Dry it off with a cloth.
- If you have rough edges or small dents in the hitting surface, make sure the bat is dry and rub these down with fine grained sand paper until they're smooth.
- Apply a few drops of linseed oil to the face and edges of the bat (the back is optional). Do not put oil on the splice of the bat, as it will loosen the handle. Work the oil into the bat with your fingers or a cloth in a circular motion. This should only take a couple of minutes, but make sure all the oil is worked in. If your bat hasn't been oiled before it will get darker as the oil feeds into the grain of the willow. Linseed oil is sold in sports shops as “Cricket Bat Oil”, but you can buy it cheaper from a hardware, DIY or paint shop.
- Leave the bat on an old newspaper to dry. This could take up to three days. If the bat dries out very quickly (an hour or so) oil it again.
- Rubber grips wear out after a few seasons. Check yours is OK and, if not, replace it.
- Make sure your name or your club's name is written on the bat so that you and others can identify it.
Sort out your club's kit bag
- Clear out the rubbish and hoover up the dirt and grass that gathers at the bottom.
- Clean and oil the bats as described above. Your kit bag gets hot in summer and the rubber grips can start to melt.
- Clean up your used stoolballs:
- Check the stitching. If it's loose, try to fold the cotton thread back under the leather or the other stitches using a needle or toothpick. Keep these balls for fielding practice.
- Place all the other balls in a bowl of fairly warm soapy water for about 10 minutes. Then scrub them gently with a nail brush to remove dirt, marks and scratches. Rinse in cold water.
- Allow to dry overnight on a cloth in a cool place.
- If it's faded or missing, write your club name on each one with a biro or marker.
- Check how much space is left in your scorebook, and order a new one if you need it. Don't forget your tournament scorebook too.
- Make sure you have a supply of biros, and that they work.
- Does your first aid kit include an instant ice pack for use on bumps and bruises?
- Check your first aid kit has tape, plasters and plastic gloves and ensure they are still fit for use. Replace any items that are soiled or damaged.
Equipment at the ground
- Check your wickets: they take a real battering during the season as they are thumped with bats when each run is completed.
- Check the face of the wicket is securely fixed to the stake. Tighten it up, using with new screws if necessary.
- Check all surfaces from the wicket face down to the base for splinters. Rub them down with sandpaper where needed, and repaint or varnish if necessary.
- Check the base, and ensure the wicket stands up straight when fixed to the ground. Do you have enough strong metal pins to hold it steady? Do you have a good strong mallet or club hammer for knocking them into the ground?
- Do you have a can of white spray paint to mark your bowling creases?
- Check that your template for marking the bowling creases has the right measurements (see rule 4.6).
- Check that your tape measure is still in good working order.
- Check that you have enough rope to go all the way around the boundary.
- If you use boundary flags, are there enough? If some are bent try to straighten them out, or replace them.
- If you use pieces of wood to mark the boundary, use sandpaper to remove any splinters and give them a coat of paint if needed.
- Do you have enough numbers for your scoreboard?
- If your scoreboard has hooks or nails, are they all straight and tightly fixed? Tighten up or replace any loose or missing ones.