Interview with Adil Reshi: Budding cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir
The valley of Jammu and Kashmir is as much renowned for its stunning beauty as it is for being torn by terror. Hence, not many people from across India would associate sports with this region. Thus, when Parvez Rasool got his name selected in the Indian national squad, it came as a happy surprise for a cricket crazy country like India.
However, Parvez is not the only success story coming out of Kashmir. There are several other budding cricketers who are slowly making their mark, with their grit, passion and determination and have the desire to represent their country.
Adil Reshi is one such cricketer. This 24-year-old talented batsman from Lalchowk in Kashmir has the hunger and belief that he would make the people of his state proud one day.
Adil plays as an opener for his state team and aspires to be one of the best in the world. Additionally, he is also a very handy medium-pace bowler.
Though he has played just 10 first-class games until now with a modest average of close to 35, he has impressed many with his batting style including the likes of Arun Lal and Sourav Ganguly, whom he had met on an official tour to Kolkata. Adil also came very close to being selected for the Mumbai Indians team last year when he was selected for their tryouts, but could not make the final cut.
It remains to be seen if Adil makes his name in international cricket in an environment where the sport lacks basic infrastructure for up-and-coming cricketers. Despite the obstacles, Adil’s rise in domestic cricket remains a commendable achievement.
Here in this interview Adil opens up about life for a cricketer in Kashmir, hitting Ishant Sharma out of the stadium and how cricket in the region can be resurrected.
Excerpts from the transcribed interview:
Q. How did you get into cricket?
Adil Reshi: Initially I wasn’t much interested in cricket. I did not even know much about it. It was perhaps a matter of fate that brought me into it.
I think I was about 9-10 years old then, and someone in my family had died. I was very upset and weeping silently in a corner when my elder brother saw me and took me to a playground to cheer me up. Once there, I saw many cricketers playing the game and was immediately hooked to it.
I would from then on go there every day. Though I wasn’t allowed to participate in any matches, I would be the official scorer of the games. As I would do my job, I would observe the players very closely and slowly learnt a lot from them.
My brother, who used to play a lot of cricket, realized I had a natural talent for batting and taught me the technicalities of the game. I worked hard to develop my skills and soon went for the trials of the U13 state selections.
Though, I got rejected, I did not lose hope and kept trying relentlessly. After going through a lot of ups and downs, my hard work finally paid off when I got selected for the Jammu and Kashmir U-15 team in 2003. There has been no looking back ever since.
Q. Who coached you?
AR: No one as such. You can say that I have coached myself. It is the same for all cricketers in Kashmir. We learn by watching great cricket players on television and by taking some tips from senior players from our own state. I have been lucky that people like my brother and a few others have showed me the way, but more or less I have trained myself as a cricketer.
Q. When and how did you manage to get into first-class cricket?
AR: It was the year 2011 and the Ranji Trophy trials were on. Bishan Singh Bedi saab was the coach of our state team that year and he had declared to us all that only the ones who perform will get selected for the state team.
I played in the tryouts and though I did not score much in the initial few games, I came back with a good century in the last game which got me noticed. Hence, my selection was done in the Jammu and Kashmir Ranji Trophy team. It was one of the best days of my life. I was happy that I got selected purely on performance.
Q. Kashmir is always known to be a terror strife region. How difficult it has been for you to come through as a cricketer there?
AR: I am not trying to be unnecessarily pompous, but I consider it as an achievement to have made it as a cricketer here. Our grounds and other basic facilities are not up to the mark. There are no turf wickets. Plus more than half the year, it keeps snowing here which halts our practice.
Whatever time I get, I make the most of it. Another challenge is the parental pressure. As a kid, when I used to venture out for practice, my family would always scold me. “What is this game? What would you ever get from it”, were the regular taunts I had to endure. But I did not give in and kept working hard towards my goal.
Q. Do you think the selection of Parvez Rasool would change the outlook of cricket in Kashmir?
AR: Oh yes, definitely. It already has actually. People, especially kids, would get inspired by seeing Parvez play in the national colours. It is the exact impetus that cricket in Kashmir required. Now all budding cricketers can look at Parvez bhai and think that if we too are dedicated and passionate like him, then one day luck will shine on us too.
There are other players too like Abid Nabi, who is an excellent talent and should be playing for India very soon. There is no dearth of talent in Kashmir. All we need is the right push to keep working hard and excel.