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The merchant of the game

The 49-year-old was the director of sales and marketing at Hogger Sports that for the first time saw a vast scope in cricket merchandising in 1992 when coloured clothing was introduced in the World Cup.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2011 01:30 IST
Nilankur Das

He is the author of the Fast Bowlers' Bible, now part of the coaching manual for many. He was one of the first to develop the slower ball as a player with Essex and has now graduated into a biomechanics expert, developing the Advanced Biomechanics Speed & Accuracy Technique (ABSAT), a skill that helps to bowl fast without sacrificing accuracy.

Currently, he's Bangladesh's bowling coach.

But Englishman Ian Pont is something else as well.

The 49-year-old was the director of sales and marketing at Hogger Sports that for the first time saw a vast scope in cricket merchandising in 1992 when coloured clothing was introduced in the World Cup.

"The original idea would surely be Kerry Packer's. But we saw from the English Premier League that people were eager to buy shirts of the clubs and thought it could work for cricket as well," said Pont, who was the Netherlands' bowling coach in the last World Cup.

"We bought the global rights to produce and sell team shirts to fans in 1992 and we sold about 120,000 shirts. That is how merchandising began in cricket," said Pont, adding that Pakistan shirts were the ones that did most of the business in 1992.

But unlike in English football, where fans are proud to sport original club colours, in cricket, especially in the subcontinent, fakes rule the market. "For football clubs, wearing original shirts gives a feeling of belonging to a tribe. That has to come," he said.