Though there is widespread anger and disappointment across the Valley over Kashmiri cricketer Parvez Rasool not getting to play even a single game in the ongoing cricket series in Zimbabwe, the cricketer’s family, who live in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town, was calm and composed.
“Obviously, we are upset,” the 25-year-old cricketer’s father, Ghulam Rasool, told The Hindu. “But we fully honour the decision of the team managers. They are the best judges to decide who should play and who shouldn’t. Had he played today, our dream would have come true. Everybody in Jammu and Kashmir would have felt honoured. But, we are a family of sportsmanship. We don’t get carried away by emotions. We are hopeful he will play an international one day for India.”
A retired roller operator, Mr. Rasool himself was a renowned cricketer in Anantnag in the 1970s when stars such as Sunil Gavaskar, Bishen Singh Bedi, Zaheer Abbas and Imran Khan ruled the hearts. “I was an all-rounder. So are my two sons Asif and Parvez. We have been great fans of the game,” he said. Asif and Perveez both have played the Ranji Trophy.
“We didn’t lose our heart even when Parvez was desperately struggling for an entry to the national level. In 2009, he landed in a great trouble at Bangalore when he objected to the checking of his bag by sniffer dogs at his hotel. For several hours of the day, he was labelled a terrorist. When the police learnt that his resistance was only due to his Koran and a prayer mat in the bag, their respect for him grew more,” Mr. Rasool said.
The ambience outside, however, was melancholic. “A pall of gloom has descended on Bijbehara, and rest of Kashmir, when the people learnt that Parvez was denied even the last chance. This is being viewed as India’s injustice to a talented Kashmiri player,” said Shukat Ahmad Tak.
“Already there was remarkable cynicism, particularly among the younger generation. They would swear that India would never trust a Kashmiri player. Our apprehension is that the constituency of suspicion, cynicism, alienation and the conspiracy theory will grow over the unfair treatment meted out to Parvez,” said business and sports promoter Farooq Amin of the Kanwal Group.
He pointed out that a hate-India campaign is currently on in Facebook and Twitter.
Rasool shot to prominence after a brilliant Ranji season last year in which he scored 594 runs and took 33 wickets. On one occasion, he took seven Australian wickets for a paltry 26 runs. He is the only player among the 15 in the Indian team, who did not get to play a single match in the ongoing series.
“Hopefully Parvez Rasool got his answer by the deceit and insult. nd may b he vl now realise that India and Kashmiri z alws a deadly combination,” Javid A. Bhat tweeted.
Even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been left disappointed. After Parvez was left out of the 4th ODI in Bulawayo, he tweeted: “Really disappointed that Parvez Rasool hasn’t been given a game in Zimbabwe. Come on BCCI give the young man a chance to prove himse—lf.” On Saturday, Mr. Abdullah grumbled: “Did you really have to take him all the way to Zimbabwe to demoralise him?? Wouldn't it have been cheaper to just do it at home???”