Cricket World Cup 2023 to see 17 international cricketers using Kashmir willow bats

Kashmir. Photo Courtesy: GR8 Sports Pvt Ltd Facebook page


IBNS: This year’s 50-over World Cup, which will be played in India this year, will write a new chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir as 17 cricketers are expected to use bats made from the willow found in the UT.

Bats manufactured by GR8 Sports, a bat manufacturing company in the Sangam area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, will be used by teams such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Fawzal Kabeer, owner of GR8 Sports, told Money Control.

According to Kabeer, the demand for Kashmir willow bats, an industry on which 2 lakh people directly or indirectly earn their livelihood, surged in the global markets after the international cricket players from Oman and the UAE used them in the T20 World Cups held in the UAE and Australia in 2021 and 2022.

“The bats crafted in our industry also gained tremendous fame after UAE batter Junaid Siddiqui while using our bat hit the longest six of 109 meters during the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 against Sri Lanka in Australia.”

Interestingly, Kabeer’s GR8 Sports, the first and only International Cricket Council (ICC)-approved brand of J&K got registered with cricket’s governing body on July 7, 2021, ending a wait of 10 years.

The 31-year-old MBA graduate from Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora, Kashmir told Moneycontrol that he has been following all the rules framed by the ICC and has also hired craftsmen whose hard work, expertise, commitment, and willpower have managed to take Kashmir willow to the world.

“Every year I see bats manufactured in Kashmir reaching new heights and more importantly when the bats being made in my unit earn international recognition,” said Kabeer, who has inherited the bat-making unit from his late father Abdul Kabir Dar who had started the bat-making industry in 1974.

Kabeer along with his workers are excited to see the bats made in GR8 Sports unit featuring in the cricket’s mega-event being completely held in India for the first time. “We hope our bats will break all the records. We wish the players using our bats can score as many runs and hit sixes and fours in every match.”

The World Cup will be played from October 5 to November 19.

India won the title in 2011 when the country had co-hosted the iconic tournament.