A team works better when there’s more of we and less of me,’ must be the dictum driving Parvez Rasool, captain of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ranji team that bowed out of the nation’s premier domestic tournament at the Motibaugh ground here on Saturday.
On the eve of his side’s quarterfinal contest against Punjab, he chose to focus on this season’s gains. Three of his bowlers had bags of over 20 wickets each and some batsmen had scored upwards of 350. “Many individual contributions brought the team to the knockouts,” he had said, explaining his squad’s first ever entry into the elite after more than half a century.
“We don’t have the big name players like Punjab. Most of them have played international (matches) or the IPL. We only have one player who has played at that level,” Majid Dar had added in a realistic assessment of his team that many expected would be crushed by Punjab.
In the end, only 100 runs separated the winner from the vanquished. “Kashmir played really well and it was no easy win for Punjab, but a hard-fought one,” victorious skipper Harbhajan Singh acknowledged.
“If one batsman had been associated in a good stand in support of Hardeep (who was unbeaten on 76), it would have made a difference. We played well but could have done better,” said Rasool looking back on the match they had lost.
“An over 300 target in the fourth inning is never easy. I wouldn’t say we played loose shots but VRV (Singh) bowled really well. We enjoyed a lot of crowd support here, as if we were playing in J & K,” said the man seen to be calm and composed almost always.
On day three, accomplished opening bat Adil Reshi had taken a nasty blow on the chest that clearly took its toll on his game. Hardeep had his own share of hardships too. Going into the game with a stiff wrist that hampered his free strokeplay, he was hit twice on his right hand, necessitating an exit for medical attention.
An unwell Obaid Haroon was forced to desert his post as stumper on day three, leaving part-timer Reshi with an onerous task. Such a condition could have affected Haroon’s batting too, as he fell cheaply on the last day, when Kashmir needed the runs badly.
Rasool scored a century, then bagged five wickets but didn’t come good with the bat in his second stint. “V.R.V. Singh’s delivery cut in sharply, catching me LBW,” he said of his dismissal. The accolades for his own achievements he took in his stride. “I thank the Almighty and hope I will continue to contribute to the team as it’s captain and senior player,” he said.
On the road ahead, Rasool said, “We play in the elite section next year. Godwilling and to do well, we will need to put in more effort.