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Parvez Rasool to bat for Kashmiri bats?
BIJBHERA, July 7: It is going down to wires: Kashmir’s famed willow bat is looking for a big score to beat its arch rival, the English willow.

Seemingly trying to cash in on the positive effect created by Parvez Rasool’s inclusion in Team India, Kashmir’s bat industry is working overtime to grab the market share and boost their sales across the country.

“Parvez Rasool’s inclusion will help our industry to a great extent. It will create a fell good factor,” said Nazir Ahmad Salroo, Cricket Bat Manufactures Association, Kashmir.

Over 25 lakh bats are manufactured annually in Jammu and Kashmir. With an annual turnover of more than Rs100 crore, the cricket bat industry provides livelihood to 50,000 people directly and indirectly in J&K, the only state in the country where willow trees are grown.

Despite the only state producing willow, no cricketer has ever used Kashmiri bats in any international tourney, which has demoralised the bat makers of the valley.

“I will meet Parvez Rasool to request him to help us out. If he has any suggestions we will incorporate it in our plans. He is an honest man who respects everybody in the town,” said Salroo.

Even the Jammu and Kashmir government is not ruling out the option of roping in Parvez Rasool to help in boosting Kashmir willow in future.

“We hope he does better in future. Though it is very premature to say (about roping in Parvez) for promotion, it is a good suggestion and we will certainly use this opportunity (in future),” said Shantmanu, commissioner secretary of industries department of Jammu and Kashmir.

Experts say the national and international level players prefer English willow bats given their natural rebounding capability.

Realising this, the Kashmiri bat manufactures have mounted pressure on the government to plant English willow in the Valley in a bid to create a ‘Brand Kashmir’ at the international level.

“We want the government to go in for a massive English willow plantation. Plus there should be some efforts to create hybrid willow plants. This could help our industry to a great extent,” said Salroo.

Jammu and Kashmir government, however, said they have already undertaken an exercise in collaboration with social forestry department to extend the Kashmir willow plantation in the Valley. “Kashmir willow is next to English willow. We are planning large scale willow plantation in Kashmir,” said Shantmanu.

News Updated at : Monday, July 8, 2013
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