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Fake or real, everybody wants one

Three hundred-rupee notes is all you need for a brand new India cricket team jersey. You may not be in an air-conditioned shop, but at almost one-tenth the price of its original at stores, cricket jerseys are selling like hot cakes, ahead of the World Cup. Shubhodeep Chakravarty reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 20, 2011 00:14 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

Three hundred-rupee notes is all you need for a brand new India cricket team jersey. You may not be in an air-conditioned shop, but at almost one-tenth the price of its original at stores, cricket jerseys are selling like hot cakes, ahead of the World Cup.

Money matters
So the quality of jerseys at street vendors nowhere matches the branded ones. That has hardly stopped the tens of shopkeepers from registering a profit in the weeks preceding the tournament. "There isn't a lot of margin for us in the jerseys. But the World Cup has increased the demand to a level that lets us earn a healthy profit," says Virender Chauhan, who owns an apparel shop in Palika Bazaar. Though he says the jerseys are from the excess-produced lot, it is common knowledge that most are smuggled in from countries like Thailand and Bangladesh.

Buying with a bang
Though the cricket-crazy public, in general, are lapping up the shirts, the demand for the cheaper variants here are mostly being fuelled by school and college-goers.

Only original
Though sales have rocketed in the street markets, manufacturers and authorized dealers are not fretting. "These markets have always existed. People who are fashion conscious and aware are still coming to our stores," says Amit Jain, who owns an outlet at the prominent Select Citywalk mall. Agrees Aanchal Tuteja, the brand manager of a reputed apparel company." Features like sweat-free and body-fit are not gimmicks and most consumers know it. " To say that the official merchandise in stores and on the web are catering to a niche clientele would be slightly wrong, but the masses seem to be where the money is not… (…not all that much, at least).