Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
By Sachin Padha Follow @abdullah_0mar The Jammu and Kashmir team created history on December 10, 2014, by beating the forty times Ranji trophy champions Mumbai at their home turf by 4 wickets. What does this victory mean to a team that hails from a Mofussil* town? I will try my best to explain. Victory in each sport is always special and one should revel in it. But there are a few victories that mean all the more because of the kind of odds the teams beat before tasting that one win. If the team survives bad time, then it makes the victory super special. It is the same for the J&K team. First with Parvez Rasool, who went through the toughest time of his life in 2009, and at present is the captain of state team. In 2009, he was detained by the police outside Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru for several hours as he was suspected of allegedly carrying explosives in his sports kitbag. The police eventually cleared and released him without any charge after questioning and investigations. Four days after this disturbing incident, Parvez Rasool scored an impressive 69 in CK Nayadu Trophy game against Karnataka. The state went through calamitous humanitarian setback caused by the floods just when they were about to prepare themselves for this Ranji Trophy season. Devastation engulfed almost the entire Kashmir region. The cricket stadium was submerged in flood water, communication lines were broken, and transportation was also severely affected along with several other necessary services. It was very difficult to re-group the team. Almost all the team members were busy in helping their families and neighbors ensuring they were safe and that they received relief material. In the meanwhile other teams were concentrating and practicing hard with eyes set on the Ranji trophy. J&K players were fighting for survival not on the cricket field but on the flood field. After the herculean struggle for a few weeks, the team gathered with their coach Sunil Joshi, in Srinagar and decided to practice outside the state. They then practiced in Himachal and Bengaluru. It’s very difficult for a player to come back to the play ground after having going through such an ordeal. J&K players gave their best and achieved the feat in Mumbai. The State Cricket Board does an iota of almost nothing to promote cricket in the state. Sometimes players don’t get salary for several months. Practice grounds are not in good condition as compared to other states. The team has the messiest infrastructure available in the state. It can be put in a systematic order; but the billion dollar question is who will take this responsibility? Since the independence of India, no one has taken the responsibility of providing world class facilities. But at least basic amenities to the state team must be taken seriously. The current administration was charged with corruption in early 2013 and their account was sealed. It has discrepancy in excess of Rs 25 crore. BCCI should give much importance to other states like J&K. States like these need succor first. J&K cricket administration should not consider this victory as ostensible. I hope the team’s achieving in defeating Mumbai on their home turf will wake-up the administration from its giant sleep. If not, then we should leave the future of cricket of J&K in the hands of God. It was almost certain that the J&K team would not able to make it to the Ranji trophy because of the catastrophic floods. Cricket is junoon (passion) in J&K. It’s because of this junoon that the team was able to re-group and buckle-up themselves to prepare for the match. J&K state has had fanatics of Cricket but seldom fans. Cricket bats made of Kashmir willow are very famous across India. Even Sachin Tendulkar’s first cricket bat was made of Kashmir willow. BCCI and state administration must try their best to preserve this passionate game in J&K. Will they succeed? That is for time to tell us. It’s rightly said that in the time of disaster, one will either break down or break the record. The choice is theirs. The J&K team chose the latter. Reaching to the top requires a lot of effort. The J&K team is purely a blend of emotions and hard work. It’s time for them to remain focused on the game. They should not get strident. Parvez Rasool’s tough time, corruption in J&K Cricket administration, lack of proper infrastructure and worst of all, the deluge in Kashmir; but still their achievement and victory by defeating 40 times Ranji trophy champion at their home turf makes the win extremely special. It’s the time to give them a standing ovation. Well done boys! *Mofussil — Urdu word: the regions of India outside the three capitals of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras; hence, parts of the country outside an urban centre. 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