| Mehjoor Ali on the run at CC&FC. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
If Parvez Rasool made headlines for his seven scalps for Board President’s XI in a warm-up match against Australia in Chennai, another cricketer from the Valley has been tearing through the opposition for CC&FC this season. Meet Mehjoor Ali, strapping at 6ft 2”, with 22 wickets (with three five-wicket hauls) from his five second-division league matches for the club (played under the Cricket Association of Bengal umbrella).
“He has been a real find for us. We are planning to keep him for a few years. He has a nice rhythm,” says Karan Grewal, the cricket captain of the club, who first saw Mehjoor when he was in the city last January with Srinagar Sherdils, the team that won the inaugural Kashmir Premier League in 2011.
“I remember getting Manoj Tiwary’s wicket,” Mehjoor tells t2 on the sidelines of a Twenty20 friendly at CC&FC.
Karan called him back last October, offering him a place in the club squad. He has also made his way into the Bangkok-bound club squad for a six-a-side five-over tourney.
“Yahaan ghar se zyada achha feel ho raha hai,” says the son of a government employee, now living in a guest-house in Howrah but spending most of his time at CC&FC. Though he did not have his parents’ support to start with, now they are behind him. “They are a little hopeful. There aren’t any jobs in Kashmir, you see,” says the Zaheer Khan fan, though he himself is a right-arm fast bowler.
The infrastructure back in Kashmir is a setback. “Cricket is only played for six months (May to October). Kuch bhi nahin hai. Bahut kum matches hotey hain. There are just a couple of tournaments in a year and just about 10-15 matches. And since I have been here, I have played at least two quality matches per week! There are few turf wickets, mostly matting ones. Agar aapko aagey jana hai toh turf wicket pe hi khelne hain,” says Mehjoor who feels had he not been from Kashmir it would have been easier for him. “Sach boloon toh mein soch raha hoon ke mein Kashmir chhor doon,” admits Mehjoor.
Currently pursuing graduation with economics, history, English and political science, he has made IPL his bullseye. t2 says all the best!