Breaking all myths of Kashmiris being sidelined in the national cricket squad, Pervez Rasool, the offspinning all rounder has become the first person from the Valley to wear the team India cap.
Pervez Rasool, along with Haryana player Mohit Sharma, has been picked for the Indian
team for the tour of Zimbabwe.
For Rasool the news was unexpected. "It is every cricketer's dream to play for the country and my dream has finally come true today," Rasool told Hindustan Times after hearing the news of his selection.
Incidently Rasool was in a photoshoot for HT when he got the news.
For him, this is a comeback of sorts. In November 2009, Rasool caught the nation's attention for all the wrong reasons.
The under-22 cricketer from Bijbehara village in South Kashmir, was detained by Karnataka police at Chinnaswamy stadium for allegedly being involved in a terrorist attack.
The police had claimed that traces of explosives were found in his cricket kit. Later, the all-rounder was released after forensic investigation cleared his name.
Today, Rasool has put behind his past and is determined to creat a mark in the international cricket.
According to him, he has fulfilled the dreams of thousands of cricket fans in Kashmir by becoming the first boy from the state to be playing for the Indian Team.
Earlier, Rasool had made Kashmir proud by his stellar performance in first Indian Domestic League match for Pune warriors.
After spending time on the sidelines, the all-rounder had claimed his first wicket, Jacques Kallis, winning praise from chief minister Omar Abdullah. An economical spell with 12 dot balls in four hours won thousands of hearts.
Domestic cricket too has seen Rasool's potential. "I had a good run in the domestic cricket this year. I got 33 wickets and scored 594 runs in seven matches. Besides got seven wickets for India A in a match against Australia."
The selection as received praise from all quarters, with chief minister Omar Abdullah being the first one to cheer.
"Have heard the great news about Parvez Rasool being selected to play for India against Zimbabwe. Well deserved selection. Make us proud now,'' Abdullah wrote on twitter.
Abdullah had earlier said that Rasool should be selected only because of his talent and not because he is from Kashmiri.
"He is a very humble boy from a village in South Kashmir and cricket has been his life. He was in India probables immediately after Indian Domestic League as well. He has a great future. We are very proud of him," said Saleem Khan, member of cricket association, Jammu and Kashmir.
"He is the first boy from Kashmir to get selected in the team to play international cricket and now nobody can say Kashmiris don't get a chance. He has been selected entirely because of his merit," Khan added.
"I was waiting for my chance and knew I would make a mark," Rasool had told Hindustan Times after playing his Indian Domestic League match.
"Though the chance came in late but I never missed on practice," he added.
Meanwhile, his hometown Bijbehara wore a festive look on Friday. His home was filled with visitors congratulating the family. For his father Ghulam Rasool, a retired government employee, it is a proud moment to see his son standing with the men in blue.
He said, "I have been asking everybody to pray for my son. I wanted to see him with the men in blue."
For Rasool, the selection has come a little late as his icon Sachin Tendulkar has retired from both Twenty20 as well as ODI cricket. "I did meet him during Indian Domestic League matches but hope to see more of him," he concluded.
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