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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

When Kashmir’s Wasim helped India beat Pakistan

chandigarh Updated: Aug 13, 2019 01:17 IST

Wasim Iqbal has not been able to contact his family back home in Kashmir since the recent upheaval in the Valley and his family may still be oblivious of their son’s man-of-the-match performance. But on Eid, Wasim was the toast of the Indian Para team, which defeated Pakistan to reach the final of the first-ever T20 Physical Disability Cricket World Series, organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board, in Worcestershire, England, on Monday.

The snapping of all the connection to the valley post abrogation of Article 370 means Wasim is still to wish his family on Eid but his match-winning knock of 69 of 43 balls brought some solace to the Indian opener.

“It is the first time in my life that I was unable to wish Eid to my family. I am really missing them but due to suspension of internet and telephones lines, I was unable to speak to them over the last week. I don’t know about the exact situation at home. I am really worried about their well-being and hope the situation in Kashmir soon becomes normal,” says Wasim while talking to Hindustan Times from England.

Wasim and hails from Anantnag district — a hotbed of militancy. “I pray to God that nothing happens to my family or to anyone in Kashmir. Ahead of the match, my choice was to either fret or to concentrate on the task at hand, and I am glad I was able contribute in the team’s victory,” added the opening batsman, who has a stiff knee in the right leg.

Chasing Pakistan’s target of 150 runs, India achieved the target in 17.1 overs with eight wickets still in hand. Wasim’s half-century knock comprised of six sixes and four boundaries at a strike rate of 160.5. India will now face the winner of Afghanistan-England match in the final. “Since the current occurrence in Kashmir, Wasim has been quite worried as he couldn’t contact his family. But the team has been supportive of Wasim and Aamir, the two players from Kashmir,” says Ravi Chauhan, manager of the team.

It is the first time that teams from all participating countries in the World Series have the backing of their respective cricket boards, including the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “This event is a good opportunity for disabled cricket to get prominence. We are optimistic about winning the tournament and disabled cricket might change for the better,” says Wasim, who is a fan of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 01:17 IST

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