MUMBAI: When the Indian Premier League’s big hitters need their favourite bat urgently repaired there’s one person they call upon — Aslam Chaudhry, a.k.a. “Batman”.
The 65-year-old bat-maker and fixer frequently comes to the rescue of cricket’s most recognisable stars out of his small, decades-old workshop in south Mumbai.
“I’ve done bats for Sachin Tendulkar, fordu Plessis, Steve Smith, Chris Gayle, for most of them,” the floppy-haired Chaudhry tells AFP.
He is the owner of M. Ashraf Bros, a bat-manufacturing shop set up by his father in the late 1920s.
Chaudhry, who still makes bats by hand, is known as a master of his craft and is in high demand from players during the eight-month-long Indian cricket season.
He is known as Mumbai’s “Batman”, and the logo on his business card shows two cricket bats in front of bat wings.
Chaudhry works flat-out during the seven weeks of the IPL. The 11th edition is currently taking place, and he is getting regular calls about urgent work.
“The IPL is the busiest time because the bats break quite often,” he says, explaining that modern bats tend to be weaker because they don’t undergo the same amount of machine pressing as in previous eras.
He also notes that players in T20 cricket like to hit the ball as hard as they can as they try to whack six after six.
“They ring me up, I go to see them and then bring the bats back here. It’s a short deadline because they often have to fly off the next day so I have to fix the bats and take them back again asap,” Chaudhry says.—AFP