How world's most popular cricket bats are made in the valleys of Kashmir
Kashmir willow bats are popular across the world for their quality and durability. Kashmir willow is less valuable than the English willow. However, the cost advantage of the Kashmiri bats ensure that the region remains the second largest exporter of cricket bats in the world, right behind the UK, where the sport was born.
The willow used to make these bats were brought in by the British during the 1920s. Some of the districts where these bats are made in Kashmir are Anantnag, Baramula, and Pahalgam.
These bats are not only popular in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Kashmiri bats require constant knocking for being transformed into the run machines and the perfect companions they are. Knocking makes the fibres of the willow blade compress together, which helps the bat bear the impact of the ball. Constant knocking for several hours ensures that the edges of the bat are well shaped.
Another major aspect of the process of making a perfect bat is oiling. The oil is applied on the back, toe, front, and edges of the bat to make it more durable.
The Kashmiri artisans working on these bats toil extremely hard to ensure that the fibers get knitted properly.
Bats manufactured by these Kashmiri artisans are often an aspiring player’s best friend. According to CricLife, good quality Kashmir willow cost $18 while English willow bats cost $170. Budding cricketers can’t afford English willows, making the Kashmir willows a more popular and affordable option.