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Sharp rise in cricket ball prices after cattle transporters go under the scanner

Fuelled by a sharp crackdown on the transportation of cattle, there has been a sharp rise in the price of cricket balls by 100 %.

Cricket balls
‘Prices of cricket balls have gone up a 100% in the past year’

The cricket ball manufacturing industry has taken a major hit as there has been a crackdown on transporation of cattle, especially in parts of north India. The industry is dependent largely on cow leather, which is currently legally and illegally procured from states where cow slaughter is not banned. But in the wake of many recent incidents and a surge in ‘protection money’ sought by local cops, there is an air of fear among local traders and it has in turn, has led to an increase in the price of cowhide reported the Hindustan Times.

Under the current jurisdiction, slaughter of cows, bullocks and oxen is banned in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and offenders can be sent to jail and fined Rs 10,000. States like Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan hand out 10-year jail terms for cow slaughter, while jail terms vary in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is no ban in Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.

Read: Problems and solutions of pink ball cricket in India

The cricket ball manufacturing industry is facing a severe pinch. This has been doubled with a significant dip in the supply of illegal leather. This has led to a rise in price of cricket balls by almost 100%.

“Because of the madness here, we have to import leather from the UK. This is expensive because it involves import duty and other taxes. Ultimately, it is the consumer who is suffering. A ball being sold for Rs 400 a year ago, is now Rs 800,” the director of a Meerut-based brand told Hindustan Times.

“Earlier, the price of a cow skin sheet was Rs 600-700 but has now touched Rs 2,500. This has caused prices to double,” Rakesh Mahajan, director of BD Mahajan & Sons Private Limited, said.

“Buffalo skin is not suitable for ‘alum tanning’ (the process of preparing it before ball making). The hide has issues like colour penetration and waterproofing. It is also time consuming. If one man makes 10 balls with cow leather, it will be six with buffalo hide,” Mahajan added.  

While bigger brands have continued to thrive by importing leather, it is the smaller units that have been affected largely. In the search of an alternative,  they have started using buffalo skin as an alternative, but the manufacturers maintain that the thick hide is not a good alternative. This is certainly not good news for cricket fans.

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