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By David Sentance
miracles happen at Woodley Cricket Complex every day when Zafar climbs
down from his roller after preparing the pitch for the day’s games.
Once off the roller he switches roles to Mr Bat Bat.
Pic (Right): Zafar was a bat maker to top Australian cricketers
grown up in Lahore with a home on the Grand Trunk Road to Sialkot,
Zafar was raised in a furniture making family, with a love for fine
grained wood. As a good cricketer he was soon drawn to the main weapon
of the game-the bat. A true artisan, he apprenticed himself to the best
bat makers in England. Having been impressed by the straight face of
English bats, Zafar flew to London to learn the craft of bat making at
the John Newbery factory.
At Newbery, he saw pressed
English willow being crafted into fine blades fit enough to carry
batsmen to glory in the top levels of the game. The Industrial
Revolution in England started when the canal system linked coal mines
to the ocean. The canals were lined with clay and buttressed by willow
trees deep root system. This weeping willow became the backbone of
English cricket when it took off in the eighteenth century. The frequent rain of England makes for a tight grain that can’t be duplicated in other places such as Kashmir.
from the convivial atmosphere of cricket after the game in the
pavilion, Zafar gained a true regard for and a genuine mastery of the
English willow.An open invitation from Harold Solomon of Kingsgrove Sports followed which led Zafar to Australia.
Impala Bat Making factory near Sydney he became a master bat maker to
the top Australian stars, Gillespie, Slater, Walker and Ponting to name
some of the most illustrious.
A Press Clipping from the time Mr Bat Bat was at Impala Sports
working in Australia for five years he heard of Woodley based cricket
in Los Angeles and decided to open his own bat making business. This
year top players at Woodley have received the personal attention of a
fine craftsman and true gentleman as he goes about fixing and making
Never have Southern California bats been in such fine
fettle. Now we have no excuse as players take to the wicket. On the
sidelines Zafar smiles knowingly as his bats create their magic on the
Southern California cricket is truly blessed to
have Zafar honing his trade as the first full-time groundskeeper
batmaker in the United States. Those needing a bat upgrade can reach
Zafar (Mr Bat Bat) at: email@example.com.