Parvez Rasool, 24, walked into the local school ground for practice on a sweltering Friday afternoon not knowing it would one be the happiest days of his life. When his friend broke the news of his selection in the Indian team for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe, Rasool knelt down to thank the Almighty.
“It is a big moment for Bijbehara and J&K at large. I had good season this year having scored 594 runs and taken 33 wickets. My hard work has paid off.
Thanks to Almighty Allah,” a jubilant Rasool, told dna after becoming the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to be selected for India and for the ‘A’ tour of South Africa.
The Valley is ecstatic at the rise of its new hero. Rasool had a torrid time when he was detained by the Bangalore police on suspected terror charges in 2009, days before an under-22 match in the CK Nayudu tournament. The police had suspected him of carrying explosives, an allegation which was proved wrong.
“It was a nightmare, but we have left it behind. We are looking at the future,” said Abdul Qayoom, Rasool’s coach.
On Friday, hundreds of Rasool’s friends and supporters gathered around him, congratulating him on his achievement. Some lifted him on his shoulders and took a lap of the ground; others cheered lustily when Rasool was later taken to his residence in what was nothing short of a procession.
“My parents are very excited that I have been selected for Team India. It is a big day for them because they have backed me all along. My father is a cricketer himself and did everything so that I could play my game,” an emotional Rasool said.
Jammu & Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah too showered praise on the youngster.
“Parvez Rasool has made it to the team on the back of a very strong
performance in recent months; his being a Kashmiri is incidental,” he tweeted.
Rasool’s mentor Bishen Singh Bedi said his real test begins now.
Rasool represented the Pune Warriors in IPL-6 and earned the respect of his clan when he refused to promote a liquor brand. He used a duct tape to cover the firm’s logo on his jersey during the matches.