“They said police action will be taken. Then in the mail, they said, do we have enough proof to nail him down. Does that mean you have come here to nail me down? Their intention looks different,” Rasool, the lone J&K player to represent the Indian team, told this paper on Friday.
The 32-year-old all-rounder stated he got even more upset when one of the officials wrote on a social website that Rasool needs to be given a longer rope so that he hangs himself. As per Rasool, the official deleted his comment later.
“The official deleted it but I have the screenshot of it. Can anyone tell me what wrong I have done that I need to be hanged? If you have any doubts, they have my phone number, they can call me. It took mere seconds to clarify but it seems they wanted to victimize me,” he explains.
The JKCA committee of administrators came into existence in June after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court passed an order that the BCCI should run JKCA cricket.
One month later, two BJP spokespersons — Gupta and advocate Sunil Sethi — were appointed to the panel, along with cricketer Mithun Manhas by the Indian board.
Additionally, Majid Dar was appointed to look into the development of cricket at Srinagar and report to the sub-committee.
Rasool narrates his side of the story about the notice. “Roller is not like a tennis ball that I can keep in my pocket and roam wherever I want to. It’s for ground use, it’s for cricket development. I really don’t know why these things are happening here. I got a ‘second notice’ which stated that we had sent you a notice on 5th of July.”
However, Rasool says he never received the initial notice.
Gupta, a sub-committee member, said, Rasool was sent the notice via email because the cricketer’s contact details were given for the district cricket unit.
Rasool questions the intention behind the notice. “They said that it’s in their record book, if it was there in the record book then why was I not sent first notice, instead I was sent second notice. It means it was an afterthought. There must be a receipt with them? If you feel someone is not using it properly, then, you write to them and not to a cricketer who has nothing to do with this. I don’t get the point why they wrote me a mail especially as I have nothing to do with this. Write to the district officials.”
The recent events have made Rasool think about his future with JKCA. He was deeply anguished with the way things are happening in the valley.
“I have played cricket with passion and hard work. They are now forcing me to think about my future. I have come here to play cricket and not to do all this. Playing in this environment looks very tough now. If they have done this to me, imagine what they can do with smaller players” he said.
These days he is busy promoting cricket back in his town Bijbehara in the Anantnag district. He is sponsoring young cricketers to take up cricket in the valley.
The district is the only venue which has turf pitches while cricket is played on matting tracks elsewhere in the region. His district wanted to organize a cricket tournament but JKCA issued a circular that those who are part of an unsanctioned cricket tournament will be banned by the association.
Other tournaments got the go ahead despite Covid-19 restrictions. “There were other tournaments happening, some were happening on mat wickets. A few districts later approached JKCA saying that as their tournament is already on, they should be allowed to conclude it. The JKCA agreed to it but when we asked they said no, due to the Covid-19 situation they couldn’t allow us to host the tournament. We are still waiting for approval from JKCA” he said.
Rasool now wants the Indian board to intervene. “I think BCCI should intervene now. Please see my work. I’m trying to promote cricket on my part. I had spent from my own pocket to build that ground and meet daily expenses. I don’t take any money, I help players. I thought what I saw and achieved, others should also get it. The fame, the money and playing a higher level of cricket, that is what I want everyone to see from this part of the region.”