With 76 protesters killed so far in the current unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and anti-India sentiments running high in the valley, some of the state’s key Ranji players from the region could opt out of the camp and team this season.
“Bahut jayda log mar gaye hai sir (Too many people have died). I don’t know what to say! The current hostile situation has raised many questions for us,” a member of last season’s Ranji team told HT on condition of anonymity.
“You can’t think about cricket when you are standing in the middle of a killing field. In the current scenario, I am thinking of conveying my non-availability for the season,” he added.
However, Imran Raza Ansari, the state’s sports minister and Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) president said he has not heard this from any players. “I am in touch with every player and nobody has expressed his reluctance. We are confident we will select a good team. We are not worried at all,” he said.
JKCA is due to announce the dates for the Ranji camp shortly.
Last season, eight players from the valley were in the Ranji squad. HT spoke to a few of them, and all are in a dilemma and feel conveying their non-availability could be the middle path. “We’re waiting for the situation to calm down. We can’t describe our pain. Cricket can heal, but that may anger our people here, tension is high,” said a player.
The only international from the valley, Parvez Rasool, is playing for India Blue in the Duleep Trophy.
Those from the state who know JKCA politics feel the faction-ridden body would try to take advantage of the situation as none would question the selection process.
“This is the best time to give a chance to players of their choice. So nothing will change if someone doesn’t come for selection. Who bothers about Jammu and Kashmir cricket? Last season we lost all Ranji matches,” said a former JKCA official.