"I want to follow in the footsteps of Parveez Rasool," says Jammu and Kashmir's new cricket sensation Nawaz Rather
Playing cricket at a place where on and off you hear the sounds of grenades and bullets, and have the fear of getting hit by the cross-border firing, is tough.
Isn't it? Imagine what would it mean to come from such sort of an area and play for a senior state cricket team? This is what defines the road of Poonch's only top-level cricketer, Nawaz Rather.
A wicket-keeper batsman whose parents decided to send him to a religious school in order to read and memorize Quran, finally after pursuing his parents' wishes, has now climbed the first step of his own 'big dream', which is to play cricket at the highest level.
Nawaz, 24, appeared for Jammu and Kashmir in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Thursday against Manipur, becoming the only player from district Poonch to play for J&K senior state-level team.
However, he didn't get the opportunity to show his skills with the bat, but with his watchful wicket-keeping, he already left a mark.
Coming from the village Dhangri in Poonch, which is just a few kilometres away from the India-Pakistan border and remains in the spotlight for all wrong reasons, the journey has been quite challenging for Rather.
After playing seven school nationals and captaining J&K for three times at the U-19 level, it took Nawaz seven long years to get in the reckoning of J&K senior cricket team.
Rather first and most credits his success to his uncle, Mr. Azam Rather, who has been his backbone during his early days with the sport,
"My uncle supported me from the very beginning. Today if I have made it to J&K team, it's largely due to his unending help and prayers." The jubilant Nawaz told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.
Been around the space where people think one and hundred times before going out of their houses, Nawaz never missed his cricket practice, despite knowing it could even cost him his life,
"Our village is just next to border and conditions here remain appalling most of the times. But, my love for cricket insisted me to go out each day and practice, no matter if it would result in even the utmost adversity." he said.
Having cruised past all these hardships, the youngster now aims to go even higher in the game to see a glint of joy on the 'dejected' faces of the people from his town.
"I'll leave no stone unturned to make my village and district proud. May be, if I play at higher level, people back home who remain dejected can get to smile a bit," Rather said.
Rather also mentioned that he idolizes, J&K skipper and the state's only international cricketer, Parvez Rasool,
"Parvez bhaiyya inspires me the most. He has also faced similar sort of problems but he went past everything and played at the highest level. I just want to follow his footprints," He signed off.Published 03 Mar 2019, 21:11 IST