The Fact News Service
Srinagar, August 26
For the very first time, cricket bats crafted from the renowned Kashmir willow are set to take center stage at the upcoming 50-over Cricket World Cup, scheduled for October in India.
According to reports, 17 international cricketers will be using Kashmir willow bats during the ODI World Cup in India has stirred excitement and pride among cricket enthusiasts and fans worldwide.
This development showcases the growing recognition and quality of these bats on the global stage, reflecting the exceptional craftsmanship and talent that Kashmir has to offer in the realm of cricketing gear.
GR8 Sports, a bat manufacturing company located in the Sangam area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, will be supplying these unique bats to teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, as confirmed by Fawzal Kabeer, the owner of GR8 Sports.
Players from the UAE, West Indies, and Oman also wielded these Kashmir willow bats during the World Cup qualifiers held in Zimbabwe.
Fawzal Kabeer, owner of GR8 Sports states that the demand for Kashmir willow bats, an industry that directly or indirectly employs around 200,000 people, surged in the global market following their use by international cricket players from Oman and the UAE in the T20 World Cups held in the UAE and Australia in 2021 and 2022.
“The reputation of our crafted bats soared even higher after UAE’s Junaid Siddiqui, using one of our bats, smashed the longest six of 109 meters during the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 match against Sri Lanka in Australia,” Kabeer stated.
After a decade-long wait, GR8 Sports, owned by Kabeer, became the first and only brand from Jammu and Kashmir to earn International Cricket Council (ICC) approval. This milestone was achieved on July 7, 2021.
Kabeer, a 31-year-old MBA graduate from the Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora in Kashmir, shared with Moneycontrol that he has meticulously adhered to all the ICC’s regulations.
He also spoke of his skilled craftsmen whose dedication, expertise, and determination helped elevate Kashmir Willow to a global stage.
Kabeer and his team are brimming with excitement to witness the GR8 Sports bats being used in the cricket extravaganza hosted entirely in India for the first time.
“We’re hopeful that our bats will set new records. Our desire is for players using our bats to score abundant runs, hitting numerous sixes and fours in every match.”
Over the past two years, more than 185,000 cricket bats crafted in Kashmir have been exported to various cricket-playing nations. However, Kabeer’s ultimate aspiration is to witness top-ranked players opting for these bats, genuinely showcasing the prowess of Kashmir-made cricketing gear.
“This achievement by GR8 Sports is a matter of immense pride for our region. Seeing our homegrown Kashmir willow bats being used on the world stage is a dream come true,” said Ishfaq Ahmad, a local cricket enthusiast.
“As a cricket lover, it’s heartening to know that the quality of our Kashmir willow is gaining global recognition. This is a testament to the talent and craftsmanship of our people,” said a cricket coach of Srinagar.