Srinagar: Post T20 World Cup, Kashmir willow exports have hit a record high.
Thanks to two Omani players, Bilal Khan and Naseem Khushi, who used Kashmir willow in the tourney.
It was for the first time that Kashmir bats were used in an international tournament. Credit goes to 29-year-old Fawzul Kabeer, owner of GR8 Sports, who convinced Omani players to use Kashmiri willow in the ICC T20 World Cup.
“I am happy that finally, Kashmiri willow is getting its desired recognition in the international market. We are getting orders from many foreign cricket-playing countries. It is for the first time that Kashmir willow is being exported overseas,” he said.
Kabeer said that they have already shipped a consignment of Kashmir willow cricket bats to different countries.“Orders are coming from countries like Bangladesh, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Scotland, Denmark, Sri Lanka, and Gulf. We are exporting 2000 bats to different countries every month,” he said.
Kabeer said other countries too are likely to place orders. “We are getting queries about the quality and price,” he said.
He claimed that Kashmir willow bats are far superior to English cousins. “Kashmiri willow trees are male and are best suitable for cricket. They have the advantage of being rigid and not brittle, unlike English willow. We have seasoned our cricket bats to maintain their weight. Our moisture level hovers between 8 and 12%,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir government is also working hard to get a geographic indication (GI) for Kashmir willow bats
So far, Kashmir cricket bat manufacturing units have been battling a fall in demand and losses due to spontaneous lockdowns. As per the bat manufacturers they have faced losses of over Rs 1000 crore due to the lockdowns since 2019.