by Nida Mehraj

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SRINAGAR: In the upcoming ICC T20 world cup in UAE, Oman is going to use the bat made of Kashmiri willows and manufactured in South Kashmir. The tourney is slated to start on October 17.

This is the first time that bats manufactured in Kashmir are going to be used in an international event.

“It is the biggest achievement for Kashmir and for the sports industry of Kashmir that Kashmiri willows have got recognition at an International platform,” said Fawzul Kabeer, the promoter of Gr8 Sports, who has been toying with the idea of getting Kashmir bat to the international pitch.

Omani players Naseem Khushi and Bilal Khan will use the bats of Kashmiri willows in the tournament, he said.

However, this is not the first time that Kashmir manufactured bats are being used in a global event. Earlier, Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies and Sachin Tendulkar of India have used Kashmir bats with great success.

There are 300+ factories of Kashmiri willows manufacturing bats across Jammu and Kashmir. “In Kashmir, we are making bats since 1974 but our bats didn’t get any recognition till now,” Fawzul said. “We used to sell unbranded items only as we lacked expertise, technology, good craftsman and knowledge.”

Fawzul said his outreach tea, was working for the last four years to make Kashmiri willows recognised on international platforms. To ensure that the manufacture is a quality product, he said, his company brought the best artisans. They also brought supervisors, administrators, craftsmen from outside Kashmir and started working on building a brand.

The company started working on the International Cricket Council (ICC) standards to make their products.

“A bat should have certain things, such that an international player can play with it. It should have a certain balance, punch, stroke and shape for playing,” Fawzul said. “We used to sell our products to outside states only mostly Julandher without any label but now we are entering into an international market. With this, the market is opening up for the whole sports industry of Kashmir.”

The Kashmiri willows are as good as English willows and the only difference between them is that Kashmiri willow are male variants of a willow tree and English willow are female variants. “We are thinking of introducing our Kashmiri willow in other international cricket leagues also”, Fawzul said.

Players of Oman have already started their practice with Gr8 bats and will use them in the tournament that is going to start on October 17, 2021.

The T20 World Cup was earlier to be organized in India. But due to the increasing number of Covid 19 patients in the country, now all the matches will be held in UAE. The BCCI has also been chosen as the host in the UAE. As many 16 countries are participating in the global event.

The tournament has US$ 15.6 million (Rs 114 crore) in prizes with the winner getting US1.6 million and the runner up, half of it. Every match win means the US $40,000.


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