Over a month after being criticised for chewing gum when the national anthem was played before a T20 between India and England, Jammu & Kashmir cricketer Parvez Rasool has finally opened up on the incident, saying cricketers shouldn’t be dragged into ‘unnecessary’ politics. Rasool, the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to be picked for a senior India squad, was handed his T20I debut in Kanpur last month. He was heavily criticised when a video showed Rasool chewing gum when the national anthem was played before the match. Read | Parvez Rasool becomes first Kashmiri to make it to Team IndiaThe video went viral, with many people asking whether Rasool deserved to be playing for India if he can’t respect the national anthem. In an interview to ETV, Rasool finally opened up on the issue. “Let cricketers play cricket and don’t involve them into politics unnecessarily. I try to keep my focus on the game and don’t let these controversies affect me,” Rasool was quoted as saying.Read | Why Parvez Rasool will miss Ravichandran Ashwin in Kanpur’s Green ParkRasool didn’t forget to mention how difficult it is for cricketers from his state to get noticed. This kind of a controversy, according to Rasool, only makes it more disheartening. “It is already very difficult for cricketers from our region to make it into the national team and when these things happen, it is very disheartening. One has to remain tough and should not give importance to such controversies,” he further added.Rasool, a spinner-allrounder, has played only one T20I and one ODI, against Bangladesh in Dhaka, in 2014.