Parvez Rasool will head home without realising his dream. The Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder’s hopes rose that he would make his India debut against Zimbabwe in the final ODI on Saturday. But he will leave as the only player in the squad to not get a game.
This series was expected to help test India’s bench strength, and the team management gave an opportunity to all other players. The arc lights were on the 24-year-old once he was selected for the five-match series, his Kashmiri roots giving it political and national prominence.
With India having already sealed the series, Rasool, who hails from Bijbehara, a small town in the southern Kashmir district of Anantnag, looked set to become the first from the valley to play for India. But that did not happen. He will now head to South Africa for the India ‘A’ tour beginning on Tuesday.
It appeared Rasool could replace Ravindra Jadeja, also a bowling all-rounder who had played regularly since the Champions Trophy and could have been rested. However, skipper Virat Kohli said: “We had an inexperienced bowling line up, so I did not want to take any chances. If you are controlling the series 4-0, you want to win 5-0. For that, you need to put pressure and not let the opposition score too many runs. And it’s hard to leave out someone like Jadeja because he can get you wickets at any point.”
Kohli brushed aside concerns that the decision could whip up a political storm in India. “Pervez is going to South Africa for the ‘A’ tour, so he will get a lot of international experience there,” he said.
“I’m not really bothered about what’s been said about people not getting any chance because a lot of people who played here were on the bench for the last two months. Amit Mishra sat out for a while, so we wanted to give him all five games. Pervez himself realises that we had a set bowling combination. It’s unfortunate he did not get a game.”
Rasool rose to contention after a good Ranji season in 2012-13. In seven matches, he scored 594 runs with two centuries and took 33 wickets. He even took 7 for 45 for Board President’s XI against the Australians.