Bangladesh v India, 1st ODI, Mirpur June 15, 2014

Rasool breaks the jinx for Jammu & Kashmir


India's three-ODI sojourn to Bangladesh may just be a footnote in the international calendar but its relevance had been heightened in the state of Jammu & Kashmir once the team for the tour was announced. Parvez Rasool, who played his first match for India in Dhaka on Sunday, finally "broke the ice" and brought an end to the long wait in J&K to see the best cricketer from the valley graduate to the highest level.

Rasool didn't have to wait long to make impact; he struck on the first ball of his third over with the wicket of Anamul Haque to ease the early nerves that usually follow a much-awaited new arrival. Another wicket in the day must have made it doubly sweet.

"It is a proud moment. There was a jinx which wasn't breaking somehow," Samiullah Beigh, the J&K fast bowler, told ESPNcricinfo. "We always felt that somebody should break the ice so that cricketers can flow out of this part of the world. There was a mental block that our boys could only make it to a certain level - to zonals or maximum to India A level. We were not able to push it past the glass ceiling. That ceiling has been removed now.

"We are all very happy about it. The social media, the news reports that will come out tomorrow about Parvez Rasool making Jammu & Kashmir proud … there has been a buzz about this."

The former J&K seamer and the current coach, Abdul Qayoom, who has been an inspiration for a lot of J&K cricketers including Rasool, saw the debut as a harbinger, a motivator, for the current and the next crop of state's cricketers. Coming through the ranks of the state cricket structure, Rasool has been close to most.

"The cricketers see him as the same Parvez who used to play with them," Qayoom said. "He has the same two hands, same pair of legs. So now it makes it clear for youngsters that if they play well, there is no politics standing in their way."

Since his selection in the India A squad in January 2013, Rasool's default introduction on anything written about him has always mentioned him as the "first cricketer from J&K to..", almost making him the de facto face of state cricket. The horrifying memories of 2009 had long been shelved. But the last step, that of making it to the national side, had been eluding him.

He made it to the India squad that played an ODI series, similar in import to the current one in Bangladesh, in Zimbabwe last September. Despite winning the series, the team management's decision to keep him out of the XI left Rasool, and his team-mates in the state, disappointed. Qayoom ensured he didn't let the despair set in. He told Rasool, "You are the one in limelight. Tu himmat mat haar (Don't lose your heart). Maybe the selectors wanted to see something extra in you, so you should work harder to rectify those shortcomings. They should see the difference."

Rasool did stick to the path of self-improvement, following up his excellent 2012-13 season for J&K with solid performances with both bat and ball in the 2013-14 season, during which he led the side too. He scored 594 runs that included a century in the quarter-final against Punjab and ended the season with 33 wickets.

The team took all the limelight that has come with Rasool as a boost, broke through to the Ranji knockouts this season and ensured an entry to the more difficult pool next season. The state cricket association, JKCA, has also buckled up and is organising early camps, five months before Ranji, something unusual in the state.

"Even till two years ago, we didn't use to get any cricket in the off season and were picked straight for the Ranji Trophy," Beigh said. "The new josh (enthusiasm) that is visible both among the players and the JKCA will have far-reaching consequences."

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on June 16, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    Rasool's inclusion in this India (an "A+" team, if you will) was timely. There is no validity to the theory that many people from J&K have denied chances over the years. Only recently has the team performing well in the Ranji. Currently the spin throne is vacant and unless Rasool stands out for his bowling, his hold on a team spot is going to be tenous.

  • Srinivas on June 16, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    Now hopefully some serious fast bowlers will breakthrough from J&K.

  • Senthilraja on June 16, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    I am glad that our indian bowler performing well and making his debut now in international level. But the real factor is the board should be ashamed of the fact that noone was selected from J&K till now. Wasn't there a good player from J&K before? Till now, are all the players selected from other states better than the players in J&K? There are too good players in J&K also before. But didnt get the sun's vision on them. Anyone should be selected based on the talent only, not based on the state. Still the board is giving importance to certain states. But the barrier has been broken in the last few years since Dhoni's period. Soon there wont be any obstructions for any players to be selected for the international squad.

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Vivek razdan never played for jammu and kashmir Full name Vivek Razdan

    Born August 25, 1969, Delhi

    Current age 44 years 295 days

    Major teams India, Delhi, Tamil Nadu

    Batting style Right-hand bat

    Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium

    Raina we all know plays for UP

  • Srin on June 16, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    Well done Parvez Rasool! Now play well and cement that spot. More importantly, win us some matches. If you do that, all of India will be proud of you.

  • Mohit on June 16, 2014, 4:11 GMT raise a very pertinent point here, but still Rasool is the first player to have represented the state of J&K before being picked for the country. Neither of Raina or razdan played for J&K.

  • Pritam on June 16, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    Many many congratulations to Rasool for breaking the barrier. Hope to see many other talent from Jammu and Kashmir to make their way to INdian Team! ONE INDIA....... bleed blue!

  • Rajesh on June 16, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    Congratulations to Parvez for making it finally into the national XI, and making it count by taking two important wickets. Raina (the other Kashmiri!!) also used him wisely and trusted his ability during the key periods of the game. Breaking down of the fast bowlers affected the strategy for the captain on how to use his spinners effectively. Hopefully this 'breaking the ceiling' act from PR will now force the JK CA to look into its administration of the game too. There has always been talent out there, but how that talent is groomed & channeled into the National System has always been affected by politics & quota system. Indian selectors also haven't been very supportive of the talent identified from smaller states / towns. Things have changed in the recent past and hopefully they continue to evolve for the better of Indian Cricket.

  • James on June 16, 2014, 2:15 GMT

    Yes, he needs to improve further to be a constant fixture in the international team. None of the others in contention (Ashwin, Jadeja etc) are much better, but still they have a slight edge. Rasool should focus on improving his abilities (both in batting and bowling) one level higher at least. Wishing him all the best, and also wishing all J&K cricketers the best.

  • Nish on June 15, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Congrats PR! Now that he has broken through this ceiling, let us hope that he not only gets many more opportunities playing for India but also that it aspires fellow cricketers from J&K to also one day represent their country too.

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