J&K cricketer Rasool inspired by Graeme Swann

Noida, Sep 3 (IANS) Parvez Rasool, the first cricketer to be selected in the India squad from Jammu and Kashmir, finds inspiration from England spinner Graeme Swann.

"These days I am following English spinner Graeme Swann. He is very good and since we have similar bowling styles, I am inspired by him," said Rasool here Tuesday adding that his favourite cricketer was batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

The 24-year-old was part of India A's tour to South Africa recently where the visitors won the tri-series against South Africa A and Australia A. Asked what he learnt from the tour, Rasool said: "It was a good experience and I learnt a lot. But I still have to work on both bowling and batting.

"I need to bowl to quality batsman regularly to test myself and when it comes to my batting, I need to improve on facing quality pace. I had not played much pace before South Africa. Pacers there bowled at 140-145 kmph."

The off spinner also said that former India captain and tweaker Bishan Singh Bedi has played a big role in his career.

"Bishan Singh Bedi has played a huge role in my career. He groomed me as a bowler. When he came to Kashmir a couple of years back and saw me bowling in the nets he told me 'you're the best spinner I have seen from Kashmir'.

"Then in a match, our team was losing and the opponents had 20-odd runs to make with five wickets remaining. I took three wickets and we won the match. Bedi took more interest in me and told me that if I keep working hard, one day I will play for India. So I have to thank him a lot."

The all-rounder has become a household name in his home state. Asked what is the reaction he gets when he goes back home, Rasool said: "After I returned to Jammu and Kashmir, I saw many youngsters take up the sport as there was not much cricket in Kashmir earlier.

"Importantly, parents are also taking interest and pushing their kids to play cricket and build their careers in the sport. I am happy that I have played a role in influencing them. There is a lot of talent there. Facilities are less in the valley but our boys are doing well without that which shows the amount of talent we have," added Rasool.

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