Consistent Rasool expected India call-up
Parvez Rasool was practising in Bijbehara, a remote village in the Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir, when he started getting calls from his friends and the media. At the same time, a Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Associaltion official confirmed to him what he had been waiting to hear for a long time.
After creating a series of firsts earlier in the 2012-13 season - Rasool became the first J&K player to be picked for India A, the first from the state to compete against an international side and also the first J&K cricketer to earn an IPL contract - he realised his long-cherished dream of earning a national call-up, when he was named in India's ODI squad for the tour to Zimbabwe starting July 24.
Once the selectors decided to rest R Ashwin, Rasool was their first choice as a replacement.
With the kind of domestic season Rasool had - 33 wickets at just over 18 apiece in the Ranji Trophy, followed by a seven-wicket haul in a tour game against the Australians - he was far from being surprised after being included in the squad.
"To be honest, I always expected to be picked in the squad. Not that I was overconfident but I thought if they (selectors) decide to rest a few regulars, then Zimbabwe (tour) would be my best chance to become an international cricketer," Rasool told ESPNcricinfo. "And with the kind of consistent season I had, I think I was just in expecting a call-up."
At the same time, Rasool said it was "just the beginning and he has a long way to go".
"After proving the faith of all the cricket fans from the state, I hope I can do the same for the entire nation," Rasool said.
Bishan Singh Bedi, who coached Jammu & Kashmir last season, and has rated Rasool highly, reiterated the offspinner's strengths. "He is technically very sound off-break bowler," Bedi told PTI. "I used to tell him that his offbreak is good enough and he doesn't need a doosra."
The opportunity may have come with India choosing to rest their first-choice bowlers, but Bedi said that for Rasool, it was a chance to show that he belongs to the highest level.
"Why in the world should Rasool think about competing with Ashwin? Ashwin has created his niche and it's Rasool's turn to impress the team management with his prowess," he said. "Just because Ashwin might come back tomorrow doesn't stop Rasool from grabbing this opportunity with both hands. He did well against visiting sides to show he belongs to the level. Now he has made the cut and most importantly he should get proper match time."
Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta, who worked with Rasool at the Pune Warriors during IPL 2013, said Rasool didn't lose heart when he was not being included in the XI and responded by working even harder. "What I liked about him was his ability to soak in information," he said. "Even our coach Allan Donald was impressed with his work ethics and sincerity. He is humble, always ready to learn and is a team man to the core."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo