For the primary time within the 102 years of its manufacturing historical past within the Valley, the Kashmir bat will probably be utilized in 50-over World Cup matches. At the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, hosted by India and which begins on Oct 5, the Afghan workforce will probably be wielding the Kashmir willow.
“Players of Team Afghanistan have our bats in the tournament this year. At least five Afghan players have already used them in the past,” says Fawzul Kabiir, 31, managing director of the GR8 cricket bat firm.
In Frames | Running out of willow
Square reduce: A willow
tree reduce all the way down to make
cricket bats is checked
earlier than being
transported to a
manufacturing unit in
Juicy shot: The light-weight
hardwood of the willow in
Kashmir makes it appropriate for
crafting cricket bats.
All in a row: Clefts of
willow are stacked at a
manufacturing unit in Sangam in
Anantnag district of
Tough wicket: A carpenter expertly shapes a cricket bat.
Humongous discipline: The ₹300crore
enterprise of cricket bat manufacture employs over 1,00,000 individuals.
Deft contact: There is all the time demand for carpenters within the business as increasingly more cricket leagues are developing around the globe.
Fine stability: A employee weighs cricket bats earlier than they’re painted, branded and packaged on the market.
Game principle: A
buyer tries out a
bat at a sports activities store
at Sangam in
Pitch excellent: While the fabled English willow remains to be favoured by many, cricket bats made from the willows of Kashmir
have an increasing market too.
Displaying grand posters of worldwide cricketers like Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, bat manufacturing items and their shops, dotting the nationwide freeway in south Kashmir, are in a celebratory temper this 12 months.
In November final 12 months, the bats tasted success when UAE participant Junaid Siddique hit Sri Lankan bowler Dushmantha Chameera to a 109-metre six, making it the longest six within the T20 World Cup, and bringing the bats manufactured by their firm into worldwide focus.
“I always dreamt of seeing Kashmir bats at the global level. The longest six proved good for us. Over one lakh bats were exported after the World Cup appearance last year,” Mr. Kabiir says.
Kashmir’s bat business is principally concentrated in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Anantnag districts, with willow groves rising within the moist highlands close by. Around 200 bat manufacturing items have interaction round 50,000 individuals for manufacturing. The feminine cultivar of white willow is taken into account the most effective for bats. Each cleft is expertly formed, particularly the center spot and the toe blade. A bat weighing round 2 kilos and seven ounces (somewhat over 1 kg) stays probably the most most well-liked bat globally.
“Kashmir exported around 1.35 lakh bats in 2022. Our company manufactures around 3,000 bats a month these days because the demand is up,” says a visibly happy Mr. Kabiir. His firm was the primary in Kashmir to get a certification from the ICC in 2021 and likewise bagged a contract to produce bats to the Oman Cricket Board the identical 12 months. As per official authorities estimates, 1.5 million bats are manufactured in Kashmir yearly.
Khalid Mir, one other bat producer in Anantnag’s Khanabal city, has employed additional palms to satisfy the demand. The World Cup has already propelled cricket fever in Kashmir. “We work in double shifts to meet the demand which has gone up from 500 bats a month to over 1,500,” says Mr. Mir.
Owners of a number of different bat manufacturing items additionally stated the demand is up by 3 times this 12 months. They have acquired bulk orders from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Delhi, and Kerala.
“Customized bats are becoming popular among domestic cricketers now. A player gets to choose the weight and position of sweet spots of a bat,” Mr. Mir explains.
However, Mr. Kabiir says the bat’s candy spot stays standard on the decrease center in Asia due to the pitch situation, because the ball stays low. “In the West, the sweet spot is higher up because of bouncy tracks,” he provides.
It was industrialist Allah Baksh from Pakistan who established the primary cricket bat unit in Bijbehara’s Halmulla space within the nineteenth Century. It achieved the standing of small scale business by 1922. Bat clefts could be ferried by means of the Jhelum Valley highway, getting its ﬁnishing contact at Sialkot in Pakistan. Then, they have been utilized by the British, who launched the sport to India.
“However, it was the English willow that remained the preferred bat among international players because we could not get the science and the specifications right. But I see a great future for Kashmir bats with new technology,” says Mr. Kabiir, who additionally provided bats to the Sri Lanka and the Bangladesh groups in 2022.
Around 75,000 willow timber are reduce yearly to maintain the bat business within the State ticking. Manufacturers say the uncooked materials is depleting now. “Only around 3,000 trees were available this season. The government needs to promote organised willow farming and maintain the supply as per the demand,” Mr. Kabiir stated. The felling of willow begins in autumn and stops by spring in Kashmir. A tree that attains a girth of 58 inches (147 cm or so) is felled for the bat business.