Parvez Rasool hopeful of Jammu & Kashmir turnaround with Irfan Pathan appointment
Parvez Rasool is happy with the way things are heading for Jammu & Kashmir (Getty Images)

The appointment of allrounder Irfan Pathan seems to be opening new avenues for Jammu & Kashmir cricket, feels Parvez Rasool, the only cricketer from the state to play international cricket for India. Rasool reckoned that things have vastly improved since Irfan came on board as a mentor in June, giving the players some much-needed confidence and lifting their morale.

J&K have not managed to impress much on India’s domestic circuit, with lack of planning and management being their biggest letdown. In 2014, they beat heavyweights Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match – the same year when the state was severely affected by floods – but haven’t been able to leave behind any impact since. This year however, things look bright.

“Last year, we reached Jaipur at 11.30 in the night with our first game being the next day. Such things obviously highlight poor preparation,” Rasool said. “For the first time ever in our history, we had a proper preseason. We have been having a camp since June and Irfan has been there with us all the way through. We also brought an outstation team (Uttar Pradesh) to Jammu and Kashmir for the first time and played four practice games.

“The preparation has been good. In the last six months, things have improved. I am very happy that good things are finally happening. Some new guys are coming and there is talent coming through. There is a good atmosphere for cricket now.”

Rasool made his ODI debut for India in 2014 against Dhaka – he picked up two wickets giving away 60 runs – which remains his only appearance till date in the 50-over format. Last year, Rasool was in for a pleasant surprise when his name was drafted in the Indian T20 squad for the home series against England. He scored 5 and took 1/32 in that game. Surprisingly, Rasool playing for India had no bearing on the quality or the recognition of cricket in J&K.

“I thought when I played for India, some good things will happen in Jammu & Kashmir and the facilities will improve. We also beat Mumbai in Mumbai. But we haven’t kicked on and nothing has happened. The reason for that is the lack of preparation,” Rasool said.

With the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy scheduled to begin in November, Rasool would be keen on channelling these positives into his performance. He was neglected during the IPL players auction earlier this year, the disappointment of which drives Rasool towards his goal.

“I am focusing on my game and doing my job. Not playing the IPL was disappointing. But I won the Lala Amarnath award last season and I am trying to do well wherever I get an opportunity,” said Rasool.