By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri

A WALL of cricket bat willows rises high into the air outside a bat factory in Indian administered Kashmir

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The wall of wood: the bat willows - known as clefts - are left out in the sun to dry

Workers at the factory in Awantipora turn the willows - known as clefts - into the finished article suitable for playing.

Precision: workers slice into the willow to create the basic bat template
An employee at the factory attaches the handles to the bats

The clefts arrive and are stacked in such a way that they lose a considerable amount of volume and water.

A bird's eye view of the small factory

Each craftsman at the site refines up to 100 bats a day, chiselling and planing the wood into the shape of a bat before the handle is attached.

The bats are buffed using wood turning tools

It takes fifty years for a willow tree to grow enough to yield clefts suitable to make cricket bats.

A worker uses a plane to shave the bat to its exact specifications

Kashmiri bats are less valuable and cheaper than high quality bats manufactured from willow in England, but nevertheless around 1.5 million units are manufactured annually in Kashmir.

Sameer Ahmed, owner of one of the bat factories in south Kashmir, said: "The events like the ICC World Cup and Indian Premier League (IPL) boost the sales of Kashmiri bats."

A worker uses a chisel to shape the bat's handles

In 2014 Kashmir’s cricket bats manufacturing industry received a huge setback during the floods.

Worker stands amid a pile of wood shavings as he works on a bat

Piles of willow clefts were washed away in floods, with initial assessments suggesting that the bat manufacturers suffered a loss of at least £75,000.

Endgame: the finished product at a cricket bat shop in Kashmir

Sameer added: "We had got orders from some traders in India before commencement of World Cup in February 2015, but then floods washed away most of our raw material and the factories had to be shut down following the deluge.