Cricket-Equipment maker betting on India’s World Cup success to boost sales

By Sunil Kataria

MEERUT, India (Reuters) – Cricket equipment manufacturer Sanspareils Greenlands, commonly known as SG, has ramped up production anticipating a demand boom during the World Cup in India that began on Thursday, the company’s sales and marketing director said.

Defending champions England and New Zealand play the opening match of the 50-over World Cup in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad at the world’s largest cricket stadium, named after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At the SG factory in the small north Indian town of Meerut, about 80km from capital New Delhi, workers were busy cutting, shaving, chiselling wooden logs to shape cricket bats that have been used by the country’s top players for generations.

The factory currently makes 1,500 cricket bats daily, about 300 more than it produced previously.

Paras Anand, whose grandfather started the firm in 1931 in Lahore before moving to India, said they were hoping for a repeat of what happened at the 2011 World Cup when India last hosted the tournament and lifted the trophy to spark a fresh love for the sport among millions.

SG, which manufactures bats, balls and all protective gear used in the game, ran out of all its inventory after India’s triumph.

“We have prepared ourselves, we are talking about gearing up our production where we are looking at producing at least 20-30% more gear in anticipation of the demand that is going to follow,” said Anand, the sales and marketing director at SG, one of the world’s largest cricket equipment manufacturers.

The cricket equipment market in India is worth roughly between $200-$250 million with annual growth ranging between five to 10%, Anand said, adding that another success for the hosts would see the market surge past $300 million.

India have not got past the semi-finals at the World Cup since their victory in 2011 but with a near-perfect buildup and familiar conditions, the hosts are favourites to end their title drought.

“Having a World Cup in India is a big thing. In 2011, India won the World Cup and for the industry it was a boom time,” said Anand. “And if India wins… even this increased capacity that we are talking about, the business we are talking about, would (not be enough) to fulfil the demand.”

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Toby Davis)