Jammu & Kashmir captain Parvez Rasool has revealed that Irfan Pathan, who has been mentoring the J&K side for over a year, has had a big impact in removing fear out of the youngsters. Rasool further attested that being a senior member of the side, he wishes to lead the youngsters by example.
Calling Jammu and Kashmir’s ongoing Ranji Trophy campaign a ‘fairytale’ might just be an understatement. The team entered the campaign uncertain about their participation, owing to the political unrest in the state, with the Government of India revoking the special status, or limited autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.
However, overcoming all hindrances, the side, led by Parvez Rasool, have been a cut above the rest this season, registering six wins in nine matches to finish top of Elite Group C and book a place in the quarter-final. Skipper Rasool, who is the heart and soul of the side, believes that the J&K youngsters have the potential to build something great for the future and thanked the side’s mentor Irfan Pathan for instilling a ‘fearless’ attitude in the minds of the younger players of the team.
“Irfan's played a big role in taking the fear out over the last couple of years. He says 'Why look at other teams? You've won six games to get here, others should be looking at you,” Rasool told ESPN Cricinfo.
“That is the line of thinking now. We have a combination of some wonderful young players and a few seniors. The average age is 23-24, the youngsters are hungry, they have that spark.
Heading into his 12th year of first-class cricket, Rasool has been the flag-bearer of J&K cricket for over a decade and he, till date, is also the only cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play in the IPL and represent India. He has also been the star performer for his side this season, having scored over 400 runs and 25 wickets, and had led his team’s charge into the knockout stages.
However, the 31-year-old has stated that he is unphased by the pressure that comes along with his stature and has revealed that he, in fact, embraces it, with his sole aim being to provide back to the state by helping the youngsters. The all-rounder, who made his debut in 2008, attested that it was important to nurture the youngsters, give them leeway to make mistakes and show them the way and stated that he believes that the current young J&K crop have the potential in them to make history.
“I don't look at it as pressure. It's a proud moment for me that as a senior, who has played at a higher level, I'm in a position to give back to the state. I want to bring that experience and share it with the youngsters. It's not like I had something more than what these youngsters have in terms of ability. It's just that my father was a district cricketer, who played local tournaments. So I had that backing from my family, which some of these guys don't have.
“That is the difference. You have to give them that belief, back them and show some patience. They will make mistakes, but as a senior, I try to tell them that is how you learn. I tell the boys, if nobody notices you, make them chase you. Win games single-handedly. This group has a chance to make history in the years to come.”