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    Jammu and Kashmir produces approximately 25 lakh units of ready-to-use and raw Kashmir willow (Salix fragilis) bats every year, generating a turnover of over Rs. 100 crores that almost 50,000 people in the state make a living from.Most of these bats are manufactured around seven villages -Pujteng, Hallmullaha, Charsoo, Sangam, Sethar, Bijbehara and Mirzapur in South Kashmir.

    In September 2014, Jammu and Kashmir experienced heavy torrential rainfall that led to severe floods in the area. Hundreds of families were displaced from their homes. The floods have had a great impact on cricket in the state too, with crores worth of willow being washed away, and two venues where the state team play all their home games – Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar and the Gandhi Memorial Science College (GMSC) ground in Jammu swamped by water.

    Bats made from Kashmir Willow are popular among youngsters and domestic cricketers mainly because they come at a lower price than English willow bats. But some batsmen, who prefer a heavy blade for strokeplay, choose to use them even till state level tournaments.

    Jalandhar and Meerut are home to most of the leading cricket goods sellers in the country, and Wisden India caught up with representatives from some of the biggest names in the industry, who, with the domestic season drawing closer, are now preparing for damage control to make up for the expected shortage in supply this year.

    “Yes, we do generally sell more Kashmir Willow bats than English Willows in India,” said Paras Anand, Director of Marketing for Sanspareils Greenlands (SG), one of the most popular bat manufacturing companies in the world. “But that apart, we also export a lot of Kashmir willow bats to all cricket playing nations around the world.” Anil Sareen, the chief executive officer of Stanford Cricket Industries (SF), who make bats for Dwayne Smith, Mahela Jayawardene, Lendl Simmons, Brendan Taylor and Daniel Vettori, agreed with Anand. ” We sell more of the Kashmir willow in India in comparison to English willow because of the price that makes it affordable for most of the people who are starting to play cricket,” said Sareen. “Up to a certain standard, they continue using Kashmir willow.”

    ” The recent floods have badly affected the industry in Jammu and Kashmir and all of their stocks have gone down the river”,he added. All their machinery got rusted and we have come to know that they have nothing to do but to restart all over because it will take time to get the trees back and cut them into shape and dry it. I think for another six month or so, this industry will suffer a lot.They have lost everything in these floods, and most of the people and the workers are also suffering because there is no raw material on which they can work on.”

    Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar, who contributed with five tons of eatables and 1000 blankets for the victims at the time of the floods, has also come forward to assist bat makers in the valley. “Our industry is helping them in Kashmir, Sareen pointed out. “We have written to the government and additionally, Sachin Tendulkar happens to have written to us in the industry to find out how he can help the bat makers there.” I think his contribution will be great for the industry. With Sachin’s influence and recommendation, all bank loan debts have been waived off with immediate effect for those in the cricket industry who suffered due to the floods.”

    But given the current situation in Kashmir, will these bats, which usually range between Rs. 1200 to 4000, no longer remain affordable? “The recent floods in Kashmir have not affected business for bat manufacturers yet in the short term, “said Anand. ” But there certainly will be a marginal increase in price in the near future.”

    Why are Kashmir willow bats preferred over English willow bats by youngsters and domestic cricketers in India?

    Options :-

    1. Because they are better for stroke play than English willow bats
    2. Because they are available more in India than English willow bats
    3. Because all great batsmen in the world use Kashmir willow bats
    4. Because they come at a lower price than English willow bats
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