He was expected to script a new chapter of hope in the sporting history of Jammu and Kashmir but it ended up being a case of so near yet so far for all-rounder Parvez Rasool, who was not included in the Indian cricket team for any of the 5 ODIs against Zimbabwe.
Once the series was clinched by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead, skipper Virat Kohli was expected to give all the bench players a chance.
Quite a few of them like Mohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara got the captain's nod except for Rasool, who now has to wait for some more time to make his international debut.
It was quite surprising that the team management did not give Rasool an opportunity even in the very last match despite having a 4-0 lead in the series.
Parvez Rasool, who was selected for India's tour of Zimbabwe, did not get a single game in the 5-match series (PTI Photo)
His non-inclusion prompted J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah, to make this tweet:
Did you really have to take him all the way to Zimbabwe to demoralise him?? Wouldn't it have been cheaper to just do it at home??? #Rasool
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) August 3, 2013
The tweet prompted a flurry of responses from Twiteratti, some supportive of Omar's view and others dismissive:
If u don't give youngster a chance in dead rubber against minnows ,then when Will u !! #Rasool— ? Zeeshan kashif ? (@Zeeshu_4_U) August 3, 2013
The 24-year-old Rasool, who hails from Beijbehara, has been in contention for national selection for a while now after a string of impressive performances at the first-class level.
Rasool was the standout performer for Jammu and Kashmir in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, ending the season as its top scorer and highest wicket-taker.
Pervez Rasool performed admirably in his Ranji stint, scoring 594 runs and taking 33 wickets (HT Photo)
In his seven Ranji matches, Rasool scored 594 runs at 54 with two centuries, and took 33 wickets at 18.09 to finish as the third-highest wicket-taker among spinners in the tournament.
Rasool, who made his first-class debut for J&K in the 2008-09 season, has played 17 first-class matches, scoring 1003 runs and taking 46 wickets.
Rasool made headlines after being named in the India A and Board Presidents XI squads for the warm-up matches against England and Australia in late 2012 and early this year.
Although he did not make much of an impact against England, Rasool returned impressive figures of 7/45 against the Aussies in February. In that particular match he was also the second highest scorer for his team with 36.
The all-rounder cashed in on the opportunity to become the first cricketer from the valley to bag an IPL contract when he was signed by Pune Warriors India ahead of the sixth edition of the cash-rich T20 league.
In July, he was finally named as part of the Indian squad to tour Zimbabwe:
His selection caused much celebration in Jammu and Kashmir. Overnight, Kashmir’s radio stations, newspapers and social networking sites were agog with congratulatory messages and comments.
However, his non inclusion in the team for any of the ODIs meant his dream remained incomplete.
Rasool is not the only one to suffer this fate. Scores of cricketers in the past have gone on their debut tour and come back without a game. However, the BCCI and the team management might want to answer for such occurences.
(With inputs from PTI)