25-05-2023 : The Kashmiri bat industry received a significant boost as a renowned local willow brand, Khan International Sports (KIS), made its second appearance in the Indian Premier League (IPL). This time, Afghanistan cricketer Fazal Haq Farooqi, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad, wielded a bat manufactured by KIS, following the earlier instance when a Bangladeshi cricketer had used the brand in IPL.
Firdous Ahmad Khan, the owner of KIS, shared that his family has been associated with the bat industry since the 1990s, crafting bats primarily for local players. However, in 2017, he took over the unit and transformed it into “Khan International Sports,” expanding its production to cricket kits and promoting them at the international level.
The brand has already gained acceptance internationally, with players such as Tajul Islam from Bangladesh, Shahzad Ahmad from Afghanistan, and women cricketers from West Indies and Bangladesh using KIS bats. Khan highlighted his efforts in developing contacts in Meerut, known as a hub for cricket accessories, where he established a manufacturing unit for cricket-related gear. To ensure the production of high-quality bats, KIS sources willow clefts from England.
Additionally, Firdous extended his work to his residence in Pujteng Sangam Anantnag, promoting bats and accessories at an international level. He emphasized the need for manufacturing quality bats, as many local producers tend to prioritize quantity over quality. Khan expressed optimism, stating that KIS is in contact with well-known international cricketers from various cricketing nations, and he expects prominent players to soon endorse the brand in international cricket.
Khan boasted that many Jammu and Kashmir cricket players, especially those competing in the Ranji Trophy, use KIS bats. He credited Parvez Rasool, the sole international cricketer from Kashmir, for his encouragement and promotion, which led to his success. KIS routinely ships its items around the world because it receives product inquiries from various nations. Over 100 talented cricketers in Kashmir are sponsored by the company, which employs about 50 people overall, largely locals.
The presence of KIS in the IPL for the second time signifies a significant achievement for the Kashmiri bat industry. The brand’s growing international recognition and the use of their bats by renowned players demonstrate the quality and potential of Kashmiri cricket equipment.