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Rasool is ecstatic

Calcutta/New Delhi: Parvez Rasool has been the face of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cricket. So it wasn’t surprising that he played a key role in J&K qualifying for the Ranji Trophy quarter finals, on Thursday.

Rasool not only scored 83 important runs which helped his team earn the crucial first-innings lead against Tripura, he also took seven wickets on Thursday.

Rasool had a pretty successful 2013, being the first player to earn a national call-up when he was picked for India’s tour of Zimbabwe. J&K, as a team, however, have been battling odds. The players haven’t been paid for almost two years because of a financial bungle in the state association. Then, just a few days ago, police harassed the J&K players in the middle of the night while searching for terrorists in the hotel where the team were put up.

Rasool, understandably, was ecstatic. “I can’t explain my feelings at the moment… We are among the top eight states in Ranji Trophy… The boys are eager to meet Punjab (in the quarters)… We are not scared of any opponent, although they have Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in their ranks. We are ready for a fight,” Rasool said.

“We haven’t got any match fees for the last two years… But none of the players have ever complained, although cricket is our livelihood. I believe it is dedication, determination and discipline that has made us believe that we can beat any team,” Rasool said.

Rasool stressed on the need for his team to have more exposure and better infrastructure. “I have got a taste of top-level cricket while playing for India and in the IPL… We have players like Adil (Rishi), Hardeep (Singh) and Bandeep (Singh), who have all done well… Pacers Samiuallah Beigh and Mohammed Mudhasir have bowled their hearts out,” Rasool said.

Related reports, standings: Page 14