Interview with Parvez Rasool: "My motivation is to get Jammu & Kashmir cricket on the world map"
With as many as 27 teams vying for glory, the Ranji Trophy is one of the biggest domestic cricket tournaments in the world. The BCCI owns a big stock of resources, but the question of fair allocation to each affiliated member still stays.
As the first player from Jammu & Kashmir to represent India, Parvez Rasool, an off-spinner (115 wickets from 46 first class matches) and an able middle order batsman, has risen past the inadequacies around him to shine. He represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore in this IPL. In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, he tells us about the challenges for cricketers in his state:
Q: You were part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Runners-up in the IPL this time. How was the experience?
A: It was a great experience, especially because we reached till the finals. We had a great team this time, consisting of lots of star players. I got to learn a lot under Daniel Vettori. Although I didn’t get to play much, the training sessions used to very nice and helpful.
Q: What do you have to say about Daniel Vettori as coach and Virat Kohli as captain?
A: Vettori, as a coach, is very inspiring. There is so much to learn from him. He is very friendly in nature; I have hardly seen any coach who is so friendly, treating everyone the same way.
Virat Kohli is an inspiration to the whole country. He works so hard and is so motivated. I remember the match against KKR, when he had injured his hand. He still came in to bat. The guy has immense mental toughness and a hunger to perform, and we should all learn that from him.
Q: How do you see yourself: batting or bowling all-rounder and what is the role of a spinner in T20s?
A: Although I bat at 4-5, I see myself as a bowler who can bat. I have done well with the bat (2869 runs with 8 centuries). I am working hard on my batting also.
Spinners need to keep improving myself, especially when the conditions are challenging. At the NCA bowlers camp, there are a lot of opportunities to hone your talent, and coaches like Daniel Vettori can give you invaluable tips for the same.
Q: You are the first player from J&K to represent India. What would you say about the situation of the game in the state, and the infrastructure provided to cricketers?
A: When I played in the IPL and subsequently got to play for the country, I saw hope of getting selected and playing more.
The J&K Cricket Association is doing nothing for the players. There is no infrastructure for the players to work with. A small state like Tripura has a better team than us.
Last year, the state’s Ranji team was compiled one day before the tournament started. How are you supposed to perform well in such a scenario? There is so much politics in one group: there are even multiple trials taking place.
The BCCI has done something for Rajasthan cricket, it is high time they come forward and do something for us too. The office bearers sit in their office, but it is the players who have to go there and perform. I have seen this happen in U16, U19, U22: Players are talented but they can’t advance.
There is nothing for the players in Jammu and Kashmir to practice.
We have been playing without match fees for two years now. How much can a player perform under such circumstances? I am currently practising at the NCA. I don’t know how I’ll continue once I go back. Our graph was going well a couple of years ago: we defeated Mumbai in the quarter-finals, and teams like Delhi and Haryana in the limited overs. Yet, if you see what happened last year, we couldn’t win a single game, not even against the smaller teams.
If a player doesn’t get the right resources, how is he expected to go forward? A new bat costs as much as Rs.10,000 to start with, even shoes cost that much. Lack of resources demotivate a player, however talented he might be.
Q: Who has/have been your inspiration (Any person/cricketer)?
A: My biggest motivation has been my mentor Mr. Rajesh Dhar, right since my U-19 days. He has motivated me through thick and thin. Mr. Abdul Qayoom, my childhood coach, has been my pillar of support for a long time now. I would also draw inspiration from Bishen Singh Bedi sir. He earmarked me as a bowler for the future, and gave me the confidence to perform.
Amongst the current crop of cricketers, I am inspired by Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh. I get to learn a lot about the different ways to bowl to batsmen in various kinds of wickets. They give me the motivation to work hard and perform well as a spinner.
Q: What are your plans and motivation for the future?
A: My biggest motivation is to keep playing well and getting Jammu and Kashmir on the world map, because we have fallen way behind. The players in the state are talented, yet without the required infrastructure, they just cannot advance forward.
People should see that inspite of living a difficult life without any help whatsoever, our passion for the game remains intact.