Cricket bats are mostly made of willow wood. According to About.com, English willow and Kashmiri willow are the preferred varieties for making cricket bats. Ash wood can also be used.
A cricket bat generally comprises three parts: the blade, the handle and the grip. The blade is the main part that the player uses to hit the ball. Willow is the preferred wood for making cricket bats because it is light and tough. A new cricket bat is rubbed with linseed oil to make it "ready" for use. The oil penetrates the wood and makes the bat shrink as a result. The shrinking is due to the wood fibers pulling together, which makes the bat tougher.