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Identity crisis plagues cricket bat industry

Ashish Sharma  |  New Delhi/ Jalandhar 

Brands like MRF, Britannia and Hero Honda have their logos on the bats of Indian cricket players. These brands are not popular with just the Indian masses.
Other cricket playing countries are also familiar with these brands. But there is no mention about the people who manufactures these bats, which are used all over the world by star batsmen.
Most bats used in countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Zimbabwe are actually manufactured in small-scale sector sor in the cottage industry. Major centres of bat manufacturing are Jalandhar, Meerut and New Delhi. The names of BDM and SG never come to light, since they are mere manufacturers.
Deals between brands and the players are beyond the control of manufacturers. Manufacturers can only afford to mutely cherish the pleasure of being the makers of the most important tool of the game.
Atvarious levels, sports goods manufactures have protested against this discrimination, but due to the interference of 'influential people' their voices were snubbed.
Although India's recent victory over Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the ODI series gave a some boost to the cricket goods industry as well as filled the pockets of 'big brands', it could not do much to compensate for the identity crisis of bat manufacturers, rued Ravinder Dhir, a leading cricket goods manufacturer.
The cricket goods industry is mainly dependent on the event of international matches being played in the country. The peak time to sell cricket goods is the Indo-Pak cricket match season.
"In this contest of mutual interdependence of brands and endorsements, the real contributors""the bat manufacturers""remain losers. This practice is morally unjustifiable and bat manufacturers also get little recognition.

First Published: Fri, March 03 2006. 00:00 IST