While the Indians were fretting over Steve Smith and the DRS controversy surrounding him after the Bangalore Test, the Australia cricket team skipper made a quick dash to Jalandhar. Aside of his usual dose of chicken tikkas, Smith was in Punjab to pick bats for the remaining two Tests.
So when Steve Smith takes guard in the crucial Ranchi Test vs India cricket team on Thursday, the bat in his hand could be the one he picked up from the Jalandhar-based FC Sondhi sports company.
Smith visited the factory a day ahead of Holi along with a representative from shoes and apparel company New Balance, as he sports their sticker on his bats. He spent nearly 5-6 hours at the factory and took keen interest in knowing how his bats, gloves and leg-guards were made.
“We have been associated with Steve Smith and New Balance for three years. He is very particular about his bats. He gives strict weight specifications for his bat. He showed interest in coming to the factory and experience the whole process in person. He was surprised to see close to 220-270 material pieces were required to make a pair of gloves. He wanted to pick a few things for the remaining series,” said Suresh Dutt Rishi, general manager of FC Sondhi & Co. Pvt Ltd.
Smith got a bat finished and a handle fitted in front of him and took it with him along with three other bats and gloves and leg-guards. The Aussie skipper uses a bat that is neither heavy nor too light and weighs 2lbs9oz.
After spending time in the factory, Smith also enjoyed the Punjabi hospitality in Jalandhar. He gorged on chicken malai tikka along with chicken pizza.
“Smith came across as a very relaxed guy who wants to explore new things and wants to go to the depth of everything which matters to him. It was his first visit to the factory and it has now become easier for us to cater to his cricket goods needs. We wish he hammers a century in Ranchi as well as in Dharamsala and does well with the bats he has taken from us recently,” said Dutt.