Almost always, it is in some of the remotest and tiniest corners of the world that we find real, precious gems. And Ram Bhandari of Sportz Unlimited is one such jewel.
Operating from a crammed up one-room “workshop” in Bengaluru, the “Bat doctor” as Bhandari is often referred to as, repairs and customises Bats for Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly, Virat Kohli, M S Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, K L Rahul, Chris Gayle. It would be unbelievebale, looking at his small place that it is here that Bhandari designed the bats used by the Master Blaster to destroy attacks during his 24-year international career.
It was Bhandari who reduced Sachin Tendulkar’s bat weight from 1350 grams to 1250 when the latter had shoulder and elbow injuries in 2006. The master, in his next innings, scored a hundred against the West Indies.
While Bhandari does repair, fixes broken bats , seasons new ones, adds grip, what really sets him apart is the balance that he brings to the bats and that means the “feel” to the bat.
He does not quote any price; whatever the cricketers pay he takes. And that probably explains why despite being a huge name in the “bat” circle, he continues to live in a rented small flat.