With just 40 days left for the biggest international cricketing extravaganza, Cricket World Cup, to start, the bat manufacturing industry in Jalandhar continues to get a cold response from both domestic and international markets.
The 11th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, starting on February 14, will be held in Australia and New Zealand.
A host of reasons could be attributed to this such as the bad name the gentleman’s game has earned in recent times due to fixing scams or the increasing popularity of other games. During the previous world cup, the bat industry got huge orders three months before it started. But this time, the trend has been unprecedentedly gloomy though.
Already reeling under crisis due to heavy taxes levied on bat manufacturing in Punjab, the industry here is unable to compete with its counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where sports goods manufacturing is tax free.
Ramseh Kohli, director, Beat All Sports (BAS) Company and who has made bats for players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourabh Ganguly and Mahender Singh Dhoni, says the unprecedented low response ahead of the world cup has put the manufacturers in a piquant situation.
“The market used to pick up three months ahead of the cup, with rush of orders from domestic and international markets. We had stocks of all cricket goods. But the dull response from the market has put us in a tight spot,” said Kohli.
Kohli said, “In the past the market used to get a 50-60% jump in sale of bats when one month was left for the cup to start. But this time, it is only 10-15%.”
Raghunath Singh Rana, owner of Ranson, an international sports manufacturing brand, said besides dip in following of the game, big players like Adidas, MRF, Reebok and Nike have captured the Indian market.
“The bigger brands have overstocked the market and there is hardly any scope for small players. The world cup is the only hope for the small players but it has been disappointed to us this year. Another reason is that cricket has failed to expand to the developed countries,” said Rana, who is also chairman of the Sports Goods Export Promotion Council.
Ravinder Dhir, president, Khel Udhyog Sangh, said there has been no demand for low-priced bats even.
“The recent controversies relating to game cricket and state governments focusing on other sports are other reasons as why enthusiasm for cricket has gone down in the country in the past years. Since bats are not in demand, other cricket goods manufacturers are also facing the heat,” said Dhir, who said such trends are compelling the sports manufacturers from Jalandhar to shift their business to produce other goods.