Srinagar, May 25: In a significant development for the cricketing landscape of Kashmir, Khan International Sports (KIS), a renowned bat brand hailing from the region, has gained prominence in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), providing a substantial boost to the local bat manufacturing economy.
Established in 2017 by two brothers, Firdous Khan and Shiraz Khan, the KIS has rapidly gained recognition among elite cricketers both nationally and internationally. The first appearance of KIS bats in the IPL occurred in 2021 when Bangladesh cricketer Mustafizur Rahman chose to wield their bat.
Now, the Kashmiri bat brand has returned to the IPL spotlight with Afghanistan cricketer Fazalhaq Farooqi playing with a KIS bat for the Sunrisers Hyderabad against the Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023.
The KIS brand operates a bat manufacturing unit in Bijbehara, Kashmir, and also has a manufacturing facility in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, where they produce various cricket merchandise and equipment. Over the years, KIS bats have been used by prominent cricketers such as Tajul Islam of the Bangladesh cricket team and former Afghanistan international cricketer Shahzad Ahmed during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
The brand has even found favour among women's international cricketers, with several West Indian and Bangladesh players opting for KIS bats during their international duties.
Firdous Khan, co-owner of KIS, expressed his pride at witnessing their Kashmiri brand being showcased in one of the world's top sports leagues. He emphasized the significance of this development for both their product and the entire Kashmir bat industry, stating, "IPL has reached a level where it is stepping ahead of the top world leagues. In that context, seeing our Kashmir brand used by a player is a big boost to our product and the entire Kashmir bat industry."
He further acknowledged the role played by Fazalhaq Farooqi, thanking the Afghanistan cricketer for choosing their bat, which reinforces the trust and acceptance of the KIS brand and Kashmiri bats. Firdous also highlighted the unwavering support of Parvez Rasool, the only international cricketer from Kashmir, who has been associated with KIS from the beginning and played a significant role in promoting the brand.
"Being a leading Kashmir brand, our own J&K top cricketers trust our product," Firdous emphasized. "It shows that our quality is of the highest level," he added.
He commended Parvez Rasool as a brand himself, noting that despite receiving offers from larger brands, Rasool has chosen to use and promote Kashmir's own brand, demonstrating his commitment to local cricket and the growth of the local industry.
Firdous also revealed that KIS currently sponsors over 110 talented cricketers from Jammu and Kashmir, considering it not just a company but a means to promote local talent. Recognizing the financial constraints associated with cricket. "Whenever someone recommends a needy talented cricketer for sponsorship, we do the needful. It has also helped us create a better image among cricketers," he said.
The success of KIS has not gone unnoticed beyond the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, as the brand receives regular product inquiries and requests from various countries. With demand coming in from across India and beyond, KIS has expanded its reach through product courier services.
Firdous concluded by urging the Jammu and Kashmir administration to provide significant support in promoting the Kashmir bat industry. Highlighting the immense potential of the region, he expressed hope that the government would step forward to address the industry's challenges and pave the way for further growth.
As KIS bats continue to make their mark in high-profile tournaments like the IPL, the bat brand's success not only celebrates the craftsmanship of Kashmiri bat makers but also serves as a testament to the rich cricketing heritage and talent that thrives in the beautiful valley of Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)