Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Kit update #2 - the cheapo bat

Yeah, so I got a little impatient... I know the plan was to have a few knocks in the nets to see what weight of bat I needed and then buy a really good one, but after Sunday's performance it's clear I need to practise my stance, trigger movement and strokes until they become second nature. To do this properly I need to have a full-size, full-weight bat as soon as possible rather than the kiddy's toy I've been using until now.

So I've gone and bought a cheapish Kashmir willow bat - a Slazenger V1 Classic 8000 weighing in at 2lb 10oz which I picked up half price for £40 in town. It's maybe a little on the heavy side but it'll do the job for now and if I do end up buying a better bat this one can act as back-up.

All bats seems to boast being pre-knocked in, but Slazenger still felt the need to put a sticker on the front bearing words to the effect that "when we say it's pre-knocked in, obviously it IS pre-knocked in, but what that actually adds up to is that you're going to have to spend some time oiling it and knocking it in." Anyway, it's a pleasure rather than a chore for me, as I've never owned a bat where the wood was visible before, let alone oiled one.

So obviously I'm a complete novice when it comes to oiling a bat, so I've turned to a very helpful video of legendary podshaver* Julian Millichamp to take me through it:

*Podshaver is the correct term for someone such as Julian who makes cricket bats by hand in the traditional manner.

So this evening I've put the first coat on the face, tomorrow morning I'll do the back and sides, then it'll be back to the face and so on until sometime next week when the last of four coats will be dry and I can start knocking in. I know it's a bit anally retentive to be doing this with such a cheap bat, but I'm doing it as practice for when I have the honour of oiling a really special blade.

So now I've got my first "proper" bat (albeit that yes, it's only Kashmir willow) I'm tempted to start a tradition of giving my bats names. With the bat being called V1 the obvious ideas would be "Buzz Bomb", "Doodlebug", or perhaps even "Vergeltungswaffe" (i.e. vengeance weapon), and it is indeed curious that both the Nazis and Slazenger chose to produce a range of three - V1, V2 and V3. However, that is a little to obvious for my liking.

Perhaps a girl's name would be better, and given my experience in the field of cricket the name that seems to be most appropriate would be "Virginia"...

UPDATE: Just figured if I rush the process a bit Virginia might just be available for Sunday's nets, and she seems to be absorbing the oil pretty quickly so if that continues maybe I could have four full coats done by Thursday evening and start the knocking in. My girlfriend didn't quite know what to say when I told her I'd spent the evening smearing Virginia with oil...

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