The main objective of this study was to determine whether bat manufacturing units operational in Kashmir weresustainable entrepreneurial ventures or whether they exhibit a declining trend in terms of economic viability.

The study alsoaimed to document the main constraints that confront the cricket bat industry in order to devise future strategies and researchneeds that can help to exploit the full economic potential of this indigenous wood-based industry.

The present study wascarried out in a bat manufacturing cluster, which is composed of about 70 units concentrated on the Jammu–Srinagar nationalhighway in the valley of Kashmir (India).

Results revealed that the cost of manufacturing cricket bats decreased with theincrease in the size of the industrial unit, indicating the existence of ‘‘economies of scale.’’ The gross returns earned bysmall-, medium-, and large-scale units were more than 2.7, 5.0, and 8.2 million rupees (Rs), with benefit-cost ratios (BCRs)of 1.69, 2.05, and 2.29, respectively.

The cost and return structure, in relation to various economic indicators such as BCR,net income, breakeven quantity, and export competitiveness, reflects positive trends, and the bat manufacturing activityfetched a reasonable profit to the unit holders, besides providing employment opportunities to youth and thereby reflectingthat this entrepreneurial venture is an economically viable livelihood activity.

These results indicate that, despiteunderutilization of installed production capacity, the manufacture of cricket bats is a lucrative venture in Kashmir and can beup-scaled to become highly competitive in terms of its export potential to other countries.

The history of making cricket bats in Kashmir datesback to the 19th century, when Allah Baksh, an industrialistfrom Pakistan, established his cricket bat unit at Halmulla,Bijbehara, where willow logs were converted into clefts foronward finishing at Sialkot.

The initial demand was from theBritish army officers stationed in the region for colonialrule, and the technical know-how was imported fromEngland (Lawrence 1895).

The expansion of this indigenouswood-based industry came into being with the registrationof hundreds of manufacturing units established at variousplaces across the Kashmir valley, particularly in DistrictAnantnag and Pulwama (Bhasin 2003).

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