Bat maker battling health issues and financial crunch

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Written by Devendra Pandey
| Mumbai |

Printed: August 20, 2020 3:44:23 am


Earlier than the unhealthy occasions struck, Ashraf Chaudhary was a continuing presence throughout matches – worldwide or IPL.

The breeze from the west, the din of the North Stand and Ashrafbhai leaving his perch on the sports activities items store reverse Metro Cinema to attend close to the dressing room staircase to chisel vital bats – some issues on the Wankhede Stadium by no means modified. A giant cricket kitbag slung spherical his shoulder, full of bats and bat-grips, Ashraf Chaudhary was a continuing presence throughout matches – worldwide or IPL.

Earlier than the unhealthy occasions struck, Ashraf might repair the bats for among the largest names in Indian cricket – be it Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli.

Australia’s Steve Smith, South Africa’s Faf du Plessis or West Indies’s Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard – all have biffed sixes with bats tinkered by him.

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In some ways, the person with the 70’s moptop was essentially the most priceless assist employees for batsmen. He would repair damaged bats, remake them, shave off wooden to cut back weight or trim the deal with edges as per calls for of the hard-to-please batsmen.

Nonetheless, for the previous few weeks, Ashrafbhai has been admitted in a suburban Mumbai hospital with well being issues. It’s not Covid-19 that has laid him low however a sequence of points from kidney stone to different illnesses.

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A well-wisher Prashant Jethmalani, who is aware of him for the previous 15 years, helps elevate funds for the therapy.

“His scenario shouldn’t be good. There was some kidney stone-related downside, which has resurfaced once more and there are different issues too. The lockdown means his enterprise took a significant hit as cricket has fully come to standstill within the metropolis. He doesn’t have funds; no matter he has, it’s over,” Jethmalani says.

“We managed round two lakhs however we want extra. We additionally need to elevate some funds for him for his sustainance within the close to future,” he provides.

Proprietor of a small store M Ashraf Bros that has been in operation in his household since 1920, the lockdown has damage his funds, whereas his different workers have returned to their hometowns. Issues took a flip for the more severe earlier when his elder brother handed away two months in the past.

In reality, Ashraf has even helped some gamers with out charging them a penny. In 2016, when West Indies performed a T20 World Cup recreation in Mumbai, Ashraf donated 16 bats to the complete squad. The generosity was after Ashraf examine West Indies gamers being in a tussle over cash with their cricket board.

“No one is asking for bats as of late and with IPL taking place overseas, there shall be no work for Ashraf. Unhappy half is that many gamers owe him cash however they haven’t paid him but. Ashraf until date has by no means requested cash from them,” Jethmalani stated.

Prashant says it’s now the flip of cricketers to assist the person whose correct workmanship helped them of their time of want, he reckons.

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