States & UTs

    Tendulkar’s visit to manufacturing unit boosts sale of Kashmiri bats

    The Hawk
    March10/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Sachin Tendulkar's visit to a bat manufacturing unit in Kashmir has spotlighted the region's cricket bat industry, propelling it into the international limelight. With Tendulkar's endorsement, the demand for Kashmir willow bats has surged globally.

    Sachin Tendulkar in Kashmir

    Srinagar: Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s recent visit to a bat manufacturing unit in Charsoo on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway has breathed a new life into an industry that has recently gained international recognition.

    Tendulkar, who was accompanied by his wife Anjali and daughter Sara, stopped by a bat manufacturing unit in Charsoo on February 21 and interacted with the workers. Renowned for his mastery with the bat, the legendary cricketer, engaged with the artisans, listening intently to their tales of dedication and passion.

    In the wake of Tendulkar's endorsement, bat manufacturing owners say demand has soared, and they expect orders from every corner of the globe in the next few months.

    Fawzul Kabiir, owner of Gr8 Sports and spokesperson of the Kashmir Bat Manufacturers Association believes that Tendulkar’s visit was an endorsement of the quality bats produced in the Valley.

    “This endorsement has resonated with cricket enthusiasts not only in India but also in other countries, leading to a notable uptick in demand,” he said.

    Established in 1947, the year when India got independence from the British, millions of willow bats were made in Kashmir. But none could make it to the international market till 2021 when Omani players, Bilal Khan and Naseem Khushi, used Kashmir willow bats in the T20 World Cup.

    The 31-year-old MBA graduate from Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kabir said the demand for Kashmir willow bats increased in the global markets after the international players from Oman and the UAE used them in the T20 World Cups held in the UAE and Australia in 2021 and 2022.

    However, he said, there could be nothing better for the promotion of Kashmir bat than the endorsement by legendary cricketer like Tendulkar.

    Following Tendulkar's visit, manufacturers say there has been an increase in orders from local, domestic and international markets. “We believe that the visit will prove beneficial for the industry in the long run,” they said.

    According to official figures, over 400 cricket bat-manufacturing units are functional in Kashmir on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, welcoming visitors with willow-clefts piled up on both sides of the road. The Jammu and Kashmir government is also working hard to get a geographic indication (GI) for Kashmir willow bats.

    According to estimates, Kashmir willow bats are priced up to Rs 3500 per piece, as against the English willow bats whose retail prices range between $220 (Rs 16,000 approx.) and $450 (Rs 33,000 approx.) per bat in international markets.