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Cricketer fiasco stumps all

A day after two cricketers from Jammu and Kashmir were detained and questioned in Bangalore, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and president of the state cricket body Farooq Abdullah called for a probe in the matter, reports Toufiq Rashid.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2009 00:50 IST
Toufiq Rashid

The Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) has been in a spot since Saturday. And its president, Farooq Abdullah, is smelling mischief.

After a great deal of persuasion by the association, the parents of the cricketers representing the state in the national championship (Ranji Trophy) and an under-19 tournament allowed their children to leave the state.

The parents were adamant about not letting their children go out of Jammu & Kashmir after a young cricketer, Parvez Rasool, was detained and quizzed by the police in Bangalore on Saturday.

The state Ranji Trophy team could leave for Delhi on Sunday, and an under-19 team for Rohtak, 71 km west of Delhi, on Saturday.

The Bangalore police on Saturday detained Rasool at the Chinaswamy Stadium because they suspected him of carrying explosives in his bags. His roommate Mehrajuddin was also picked up for questioning.

Rasool was put in police custody but his release was possible only when the JKCA communicated its protest to the Karnataka police. No explosives were found with him. Mehrajuddin was also released.

This is the first time that a cricketer from the state has been arrested on such charges.

Rasool had gone to represent the state in an under-22 championship (C.K.Naidu Trophy).

“Since Saturday we are getting calls from panic-stricken parents across the state. What happened (in Bangalore) is unfortunate and it is likely to leave an impact on the parents of the players, who are now worried for their children’s safety,” said Saleem Khan, secretary, J&K Cricket Association.

“The girls’ (cricket) team is also to leave for Punjab and has to later travel to other states. We hope to convince the parents about their safety,” he added.

Following the scare, the organisers delayed the start of the quarter-finals of the Champions League match, scheduled to take place there.

The under-22 team had left Kashmir on October 10.

Smelling a rat, Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) President Farooq Abdullah, who is also Union minister for new and renewable energy, said that some cricketers not selected to play “made a call to the Karnataka police and gave wrong information about Rasool that he was carrying explosives in his bags. The Karnataka police have no role in it. They have to follow the leads for security purposes.”

“There is factionalism within the JKCA, which is responsible for this,” Abdullah said.

He has asked J&K Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda to investigate the matter and book the culprits.

Rasool played in the Ranji Trophy in the last season and has been representing the state in various tournaments since he was 13 years old.

The JKCA has faced flak for allegedly not being fair in selection. This has given rise to factionalism within the association. Recently some selectors of the JKCA resigned over the selection process.