Srinagar, Jan 14 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir captain Pervez Rasool hopes his impressive all-round performance in the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament would earn him a recall to the national team soon.
In 2013, Rasool, a spin-bowling all-rounder, became the first cricketer from the state to get selected for India after he was picked up for the ODI series in Zimbabwe. Though he never got a chance to play, Rasool didn't lose hope.
Rasool has been key to Jammu and Kashmir's success in the Ranji Trophy this season, when the teamy made it to the quarter-finals for the first time in Ranji history. Rasool struck a century and picked up six wickets against Punjab in a quarter-final tie but his efforts went in vain.
"Although budding players in Kashmir don't have even 10 percent of facilities available to their counterparts in other states of the country, I am confident of getting a place to represent my country this year," Rasool told IANS in an interview.
Rasool said that with proper exposure and infrastructure, Jammu and Kashmir can give top Ranji teams like Mumbai a tough fight.
"The biggest problem faced by our boys is the lack of exposure and infrastructural facilities. We don't have even 10 percent of the facilities for our budding cricketers as compared to Mumbai and other states of the country," Rasool said.
"We have been performing very well despite the lack of the needed facilities. This proves there is no dearth of talent, but they are unable to realise their dreams because there are little facilities to hone their skills," he added.
Rasool said even for the Ranji Trophy, training camps were held just for a month.
"Is that by any standards good enough to shine at the national level?" Rasool asked.
Rasool asked if Madhya Pradesh could send its under-25 side for a pre-season tour to South Africa for an exposure, why couldn't the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), which is headed by union Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is also a former chief minister of the state.
Asked why the affairs in JKCA are so dismal, Rasool quipped: "I don't think I am supposed to comment on that."
The skipper, however, said that the JKCA must get better if it wants to produce better cricketers.
"Yes, the JKCA can always and should get better if we want to produce good sportsmen for the game. No doubt that we are encouraged by the JKCA whenever we do well, but for doing well, the association will have to work out a master strategy," he said.
Rasool thanked his father, Ghulam Rasool Zargar, 55, a government employee, for helping him to realise his dream.
"Despite a humble financial background, my father always helped, supported and encouraged me to chase my passion. And today, what I am is because of Allah's blessings and my father's unflinching support," he said.
Rasool said his ideals are Sachin Tendulkar as a batsman, Graeme Swann of England as a bowler and Jack Kallis of South Africa as an all rounder.
Rasool is happy that Jammu and Kashmir's Ranji matches have now become a topic of national debate.
"National selectors had come to watch our game during the Ranji Trophy matches this year. I am definitely improving with each passing day and I am confident it would be very soon that I shall be representing the country in international matches", he said.
As a word of advice, Rasool asked young cricketers from Jammu and Kashmir to watch international players play the game to pick up on technique and finesse.
"If our budding crickets start worrying about the lack of facilities in the state, they would reach nowhere. My advice is, play the game wherever and whenever you can, but understand that without proper coaching one reaches nowhere."
Rasool told IANS the JKCA management has promised him the infrastructural facilities for the game would be improved.
(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)