By Tony Reid
In Waipawa, Hawkes Bay, from a block of English willow, James Laver crafts his latest custom and hand-made cricket bat, and reveals a star-studded list of happy customers.
Born in England, Laver moved to New Zealand 11 years ago, married a Kiwi, and opened his shop.
He now produces 1000 bats a year, and makes every one himself.
“Handmade bats come into their own, because that is very much suited to an individual; every individual has their own different needs in a cricket bat,” he says.
An entry level bat takes four hours to make, and costs about $400, a higher level model is the best English willow you can find and it will cost you a cool $2000.
In the last Cricket World Cup Laver made the bats for about 30 players.
For privacy reasons, he's a bit coy about this tournament, but will admit to making a bat for Sachin Tendulkar in the past, as well as this bat for Sri Lankan great, Sanath Jayasuriya.
“It just works, it makes you feel good, it makes you go out to the middle thinking that if I go out and hit that ball well, it's going to go it's going to fly,” says Jayasuriya.
And fly it has, for Jayasuriya, who scored a double century with a bat made by Laver.
Then's there's Brian Lara, Steve Waugh, and our very own Craig McMillan.
The bats Laver makes for the worlds' best go out blank, the sponsors stickers go on top, meaning only he knows who's using them.
So, will Tendulkar knock his 100th 100 with a Laver bat?
For the record, Laver is picking India to win.
source: newshub archive