Over the years the cricket bat's evolution has been quite amazing.
Back when things were black and white, cricket bats were made just like they are now. English willow, cane handle, binding to keep the handle and bat joint strong and a grip. The difference was that the willow had more moisture in it and bats were oiled regularly with linseed oil.
They then progressed to be coated in a protective coating like a clear or poly coat or even painted. No more oil required as the moisture could hardly escape to dry the willow out. Bats were still quite heavy, but the size was getting slightly bigger by this stage.
Moving on to the 'now' where bats have big profiles with big edges however, they are lighter than ever. The pros to this are that you can hit the further even when you don't hit the middle. The cons are that there are more breakages as the bats are dryer than ever. Linseed oil will help this as it is important to keep moisture in your bat however, the greatest thing you can do to protect your bat from premature cracking or breaking is to apply face protection to it.
We call it Clear Guard or Fibre Guard however it is also known as Extratec or a Cricket Bat Scuff Sheet. It acts as a protective barrier between the ball and the willow and the great thing about it is that it doesn't affect the way you hit the ball, you can remove it and get your bat cleaned up and then replace it so that it keeps protecting your bat.
We 100% recommend putting these on to your bat to prolong it's life and performance.