Forced to stop manufacturing of cricket bats due to worst ever crisis in sales this year, manufacturers and exporters of cricket goods based in Jalandhar have pinned hopes on T20 World Cup starting in India on Tuesday to come out of the financial mess.
The bat manufacturers are elated over India clinching the Asia Cup by defeating Bangladesh on Sunday and are of the view that the tone for the T20 World Cup has been set with the fever catching fans and the Indian cricket team termed as favourites for clinching the coveted title by cricket experts.
“We are hopeful that the T20 World Cup will help us revive the sluggish sales. All the matches of the championship are going to happen in the country only. We are hopeful that the T-20 frenzy will bring some cheer for bat manufacturers,” said Khel Udhyog Sangh president and leading bat manufacturer, Ravinder Dhir.
He said the manufacturers had started receiving good signals regarding sales, which were slowly picking up in the last ten days.
Notably, the cricket bat-manufacturing industry in Jalandhar is reeling under the worst ever crisis, with local units choosing to stop production for the first time as there has been a poor market response of late.
As already reported by Hindustan Times, more than 50 small and large units manufacturing bats and other cricket goods are facing heavy losses and many have asked their staff to look for alternative jobs after waiting for a positive response from the market for several months.
“Though, we are yet to ask our workers to come back and restart manufacturing but as the sales have picked up in the domestic market, we would first clear the available stock,” said Karan Kumar, a sports goods seller in Football Chowk market.
Going by the market trend between May and December last year, the sale of bats came down by 80%. Till now, only high-end bats were being made on special orders from national or international clients.
Increasing emphasis on exams in schools, especially in March, is also leading to lesser availability of time for play for children.
“Free time is a luxury these days. However, exams of most schoolchildren are going to end by the middle of March. Students are likely to make a beeline for purchasing new bats right after their exams and this can prove to be a bonanza for the industry,” said Dhir.
Amit Sharma of Spartan bat manufacturing company, whose bats are used by Indian limited-overs format skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, also opined that the cricket fever had started gripping the country with the start of the T20 World Cup and if India managed to win it, it could help the sinking bat manufacturing industry of Jalandhar.
“The sale in the international market has picked up ahead of the World Cup. However, it remains to be seen if the market response brings the industry out of the sales crisis,” said Sharma.