Rasool: Hope to see more Kashmiris in IPL

"I am the first player from the valley to play for India and in the IPL. It feels very good. But I also hope that every time I play, I do well. So that the youngsters back home can get motivated and work harder."

Parvez Rasool picked up a wicket with his first ball against the Hyderabad Sunrisers.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

A promising sporting career nipped in the bud owing to reasons outside the realm of sport is perhaps the cruelest of things that can happen to any sportsman. One just has to look at the spontaneous outpouring of grief at Englishman James Taylor’s retirement because of a serious heart condition to get the measure of the same.

But even this dwarfs in comparison when one considers what happened in Handwara, Kashmir recently. Nayeem Qadir Bhat, a young cricketer from the state, was killed in a firing.

“Very unfortunate,” said Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Parvez Rasool, the most famous cricketer to emerge from the valley. “I played the first match in Bangalore. I did well, we won and we celebrated. Then I came to hotel and saw that such an incident had taken place. I am deeply disappointed. He was in the under-19 team. And I saw on Facebook that he had a picture with me too. What happened was very bad. What else can I say?”

For most youngsters from the state, Rasool is an idol and a symbol of cricketing progress. According to him, it’s something which brings pressure and motivation in equal measure.

“I am the first player from the valley to play for India and in the IPL. It feels very good. But I also hope that every time I play, I do well. So that the youngsters back home can get motivated and work harder. The players there are talented. I hope three or four more play in the IPL.”

But his career trajectory is also one which indicates that for a player to go higher, he has to seek greener pastures elsewhere. “The set-up we have in Kashmir is very difficult,” he said. “So whoever wants to go higher has to get out. Go to Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore etc so that they can get exposed to quality cricket. Our association isn’t able to do anything.”

On current form though Rasool seems to have done rather well. In the opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was the first-change bowler and picked up a wicket off his very first ball.

“At Chinnaswamy it’s a challenge to be a spinner,” he said. “I keep talking to Daniel Vettori and he has helped me a lot. I played in a couple of matches here before the first match. I bowled in the powerplay and felt nice about the way I did it. And also bowling to the left-handers helped me as an off-spinner.”

“Cricket is all about confidence and I have got it from the team management. So it’s been good.”