The demand for Kashmir Willow bats has increased in the global markets after the international cricket players from Oman and UAE used them in the T20 World Cups.
Now, around 17 more players from six cricketing nations have got bats made from Kashmiri Willow for the ODI World Cup 2023 scheduled to be held in India this October.
The people associated with this industry expressed happiness that more countries have started using Kashmiri Willow bats in the professional game. They expect more teams to procure the bats in the future.
There are around 400 cricket bat manufacturing units in the industrial area from Sangam to Awantipora in south Kashmir and the bats of one unit (GR8 Sports) have reached the international stage, they said.
Fawzul Kabir, a 30-year-old MBA graduate from the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Awantipora, who is pursuing PhD from the DCU in Ireland, said that after hectic efforts, a few players from Oman and UAE played with Kashmiri bats and now 17 more players from six nations have agreed to play with their bats. The bats are being manufactured at the GR8 Sports industry in Halmulla Sangam area of Anantnag – the first and only ICC-approved brand of J-K till date, he said, adding that UAE’s star cricketer Junaid Siddiqui was able to hit the biggest 6 of the ICC T20 World Cup against Sri Lanka in Australia last year using a Kashmir Willow bat of GR8 Sports.
Kabir, who is the owner of this unit which his late father started in 1974, said the demand for his Kashmiri bats has increased in the international markets. We are in contact with more cricketing nations and are hopeful in the coming time all cricketing nations will play with Kashmiri bats, he said.
Fawzul informed that players going to play with Kashmiri bats are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies, UAE and Oman. The number of countries playing with Kashmiri bats is increasing every year and our aim is that players from top cricketing nations must play with our bats, he said.
“We have already sent consignments to around two dozen countries and many orders are also in the queue,” he said, adding, “This is just the beginning for us and we are hopeful very soon that famous international players will play with our bats.”
Kashmiri bats have emerged as tough competitors to English willow bats as we are the only ones who can produce these bats at a much less rate than what English willow costs, he added.
Now our aim is that prolific players like Virat Kohli, Babar Azam and others should play with our Kashmir-made bats, he expressed.
Kabir further said that earlier they were preparing here only white-label goods or raw material of bats which was then sent to Jalandhar, Meerut and other cities where they were using their own brand and selling them to international players.
“Now, we are preparing bats here only and it is the first time that our manufacturing has reached the ODI World Cup as the last players played with Kashmiri bats in T20 World Cup,” Kabir said.
Cricketers Who Use Kashmir Willow
Kashmir willow is used in the production of cricket bats. It has been the preferred choice for many famous cricketers. These players have all played with their Kashmir willow cricket bats.
Sir Vivian Richards
West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen ever to play the game. He was a powerful middle-order batsman and an occasional fast bowler who could bowl both off spin and medium pace.
Richards was born in St. John’s, Antigua on November 17, 1952 and died on May 21, 2019 at age 66 after suffering from heart failure at his home in Antigua.
Sachin Tendulkar is a former Indian cricketer and considered one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He is a right-handed batsman and occasional wicketkeeper who played for Mumbai domestically, as well as internationally for India. Tendulkar is one of the most successful run scorers in Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket history, with a batting average exceeding 53 runs per innings in both formats.
In 2013, during his final match at Wankhede Stadium against West Indies in Mumbai’s domestic competition known as NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, Tendulkar received standing ovation from over 50,000 fans when he came into bat for his 100th international century.
Naseem Khushi is a Pakistani cricketer. He is a right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper who has played for the Pakistan Under-19 cricket team. He has also been a member of the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League.
Kashmir willow is used to make cricket bats in Pakistan and many other countries across Asia, including India and Bangladesh. The wood from Kashmiri trees has long been held in high regard for its durability, strength and ability to keep its shape when subjected to regular use over time.
Bilal Khan is a Pakistani cricketer who plays for Islamabad. He made his first-class debut for Islamabad in the 2018–19 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on 10 October 2018. He was the leading wicket-taker for Rawalpindi in the 2017–18 Pakistan Cup, with twelve dismissals as Rawalpindi won the tournament.
In September 2018, he took his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, bowling for Rawalpindi against Faisalabad and taking 5/33 and 7/63 (match figures of 12/96). The performance led to him being named player of the match and earned him a spot in Pakistan’s training camp ahead of the Test series against England.