The lifespan of your cricket bat will depend almost entirely on how well you take care of it between uses. New willow bats need to be knocked-in and oiled before use, but that is not the end of it; your bat may well be ready for play at that moment, but in order to maintain it at that level and ensure it continues to perform at its best, you will need to carry out some regular upkeep and be sure to store it correctly.
The two biggest enemies of your cricket gear are likely to be moisture and heat. Willow absorbs moisture very easily, which is particularly dangerous at the toe of the bat where it can cause swelling and splitting, making it very important to store your bat in a dry place away from any damp. Extreme heat on the other hand is likely to cause cracking and splits, so try to avoid storing or transporting your bat in warm temperatures to avoid it drying out and becoming brittle.
During a warm season, when your cricket equipment is getting a lot of use, it is wise to apply a coat of linseed oil every few weeks too. However, you don’t want to use too much oil as this can actually cause more problem than too little oil, causing the bat to become weighed down, spoiling the pickup and reducing the driving power. A few coats of just a small amount of oil at regular intervals, rather than one coat that leaves your bat soaked in oil, is all that is needed to keep your equipment in top condition.