As a cricketer, you take pride in the red marks that the ball leaves on your bat. They are evidence of well-struck balls, especially if they are in the middle of the bat. After a long innings you might show off the marks to demonstrate your skill. That's why some cricketers would shy away from cleaning off the marks. (Ref. 1.) They might be a badge of honour, but you will want to keep the bat looking as new as possible--especially if you intend to show off the marks of your next long innings.
Prepare the bat. Remove any dirt with a damp cloth and detergent water. Remove an anti-scuff sheet. Peel the sheet off sideways, not from top to bottom. A bat with a anti-scuff sheet will have fewer and shallower marks. Take off any extraneous tape that you have wound around the bat to keep cracks to a minimum.
Sand the face of the bat with fine sandpaper. Use long strokes, going with the grain. Pay attention to the edges--give them special treatment, even if there are few marks there.
Restore the face to its original finish. If your bat is properly "knocked-in," i.e., you prepared it for use with many hours of ball contact before play, the marks will be just on the surface.
Give the bat one coat of linseed after a thorough sanding. Apply with a clean cloth that will not leave fibre behind. Let it dry for three or four days before you apply a new anti-scuff sheet. The sheet will not stick to the bat's face otherwise. Keep it away from excess heat when drying.
Carefully apply a new anti-scuff sheet. Peel off the backing sheet. Cover the face and wrap it around the sides to stop edges cracking. Cut off any plastic hanging over the edge and bottom. This thin sheet on the bat's face is not a substitute for the knocking-in that protects the bat. Critics say that it is more cosmetic than anything, but it makes the bat easier to clean and therefore keep the marks off. (Ref. 3.) An anti-scuff sheet serves the same purpose as fine sandpaper for getting the red leather marks off your bat.
- Give the bat a little "knock-in" after removing the marks.
- Avoid cricket balls that are synthetic and heavier than regulation. These can damage the bat.