Sometimes, Ramesh Kohli gets upset with his younger brother. He wants him to sit in the office, but the latter is always hopping from one section of their bat manufacturing unit to the other, overseeing the entire process of turning a piece of wood into a top-quality cricket bat.
However, it’s Somi Kohli’s obsession with bat making that has given Beat All Sports (BAS), the sports goods company in Jalandhar where the two brothers are partners, their master piece — the bat Sachin Tendulkar has been using for close to two years now and has scored 14 or 15 centuries with.
That Sachin Tendulkar has picked up the battle-scarred willow from his huge collection for the World Cup as well, has brought a bigger smile to everyone’s faces at BAS. “It’s a huge honour and a matter of satisfaction for us,” said Kohli.
Their masterpiece, perhaps, wouldn’t have become one without some suggestion from the master himself. “I showed the bat to Sachin in Mohali. He liked it, but suggested some changes with regard to weight and balance. I immediately rushed back to Jalandhar and made the required changes, and the rest, as they say, is history,” said Somi.
Tendulkar liked the bat so much after the suggested changes were made that he used it the day it was delivered to him in Hyderabad, and smashed a hurricane 175 against Australia. “Normally, the players knock around a bit before using it in a match. We handed over the bat to him about just two hours before the start of the match. We were pleasantly surprised to see him walking out with it the same day.”
With such a great start and the subsequent knocks of about 14-15 hundreds, it is not surprising that Tendulkar is in no mood to discard it, though it has undergone at least two repairs. “We’ve repaired it twice. Once during the IPL, and then he sent it to me before the South African tour, where he smashed his 50th ton with it,” said Somi.
Tendulkar himself knows a thing or two about repairing bats. “He carries the repair kit with himself and sorts out the small issues himself.”
“Normally, the bat doesn't last this long. Either it breaks or the players change it. But this has been a long partnership.
“Anyway, we can’t complain,” a delighted Somi Kohli said.