The 17-yearold rookie pacer from J&K impressed one and all during his surprise debut in Indian Premier League (IPL) at famous Wankhade Stadium Mumbai on Sunday.
Handed a surprise debut by Mumbai Indian during their opening game of the IPL 2019 season, Rasikh went on to start the match by bowling first over. Rasikh began by beating Delhi Capitals opener Shikhar Dhawan with an outswinger, bowled at 131 kmph. While all other bowlers were going on for plenty, his first three overs went for 21 only that despite no balls and wide he bowled. Later Rasikh returned to bowl the final over of the innings, where he like others was taken apart by a destructive Rishabh Pant. His final over went for 20 runs, with Pant alone hitting 19 of them. Overall, he went for 42 runs in four overs, without taking a wicket.
It was surprise for everyone to see Rasikh playing the first match for the Mumbai Indians and then being given the responsibility of opening the bowling. Though everyone who had seen Rasikh bowling knew that he has got something special in him but no one expected such a surprise call from Rohit Sharma lead Mumbai Indians.
The multiple time IPL champions have got plenty of pace bowlers in its arsenal and still went ahead with rookie pacer in the opening game. The special one from South Kashmir’s Ashmuji village of Kulgam district didn’t let down anyone as he impressed one and all.
In the post match press conference, Yuvraj Singh was all praise for Rasikh and said, “The day Rasikh came in the nets, everybody was impressed. He got hit for a six and a four on his last two balls but apart from that, he was very good. He handled himself well in front of a massive crowd”.
This was not all, as social media was also abuzz with the debut of the young cricketer from Kashmir who is termed as find of Irfan Pathan.
Irfan Pathan himself went on to praise Rakish and was quoted as saying, “It’s a really happy moment for me. I first saw him in district selection (trials) in J&K. After he had bowled just a couple of balls, I knew that this guy has something special”.
He also tweeted, “Wow such a great news this is for J&K cricket. Young prodigy Rashikh Salam making his debut for Mumbai Indian’s, feeling emotional, happy and great feeling”.
Former Indian and IPL cricketer Manoj Tiwary also tweeted and praised Irfan Pathan for bringing in the talent like Rasikh in front of everyone.
“Yesterday in the game between Mumbai and Delhi we saw Rasikh Salam from J&K state made his IPL debut. Looks promising. Kudos to Mumbai Indian’s for showing confidence on him and giving him the platform. One man is working behind the scene for J&K upcoming talented players is Irfan Pathan bhai,” Tiwari tweeted.
Rasikh is now second cricketer from J&K to play in IPL after Parvez Rasool who played for couple of seasons before going unsold in last couple of auctions. J&K skipper also praised debut of Rasikh.
“This is a proud moment for whole J&K. This kid is really amazing coming first time from his village Kulgam to play cricket and same year played all formats including IPL shows how talented he is,” Parvez Rasool was quoted as saying.
Though it was surprise for everyone on Sunday as Mumbai handed Rasikh debut in its opening match but if one would have followed the team keenly there were always indications coming.
In one of his pre tournament press conference former Indian team legend and now Director Cricket Mumbai Indian’s Zaheer Khan had given hint about it.
“We have identified a couple of players. Rasikh is here. Jaswal has been inducted. The management has always promoted young talent and we’ll continue to do that.” he had said.
Rasikh is termed as Pathan find and there is reason for that as it was Pathan who picked him straight for the J&K senior team out of nowhere.
Rasikh had done pretty well in J&K Cricket Association district level tournament. Like other cricketers he was called for talent hunt held by Irfan Pathan in Srinagar. He was spotted by Pathan during the camp and picked him for the senior team coaching camp. Doing well in the camp was taken along with J&K senior team to Andhra Pradesh for Vizzy Trophy tour. He did well during the event and then went to play in Vijay Hazare trophy for J&K and then also played for J&K Under-19 team.
During Vijay Hazare trophy Rasikh was spotted by Mumbai Indian spotters and was called for trials. In the meantime he played for J&K in Ranji Trophy and also in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. During IPL players auction Mumbai Indian’s bid and brought him for 20 lakhs. He then went on to join team early in order to focus on his fitness and cardio.
Pertinently last year Kings XI Punjab had brought Manzoor Pandav but he was not given chance in playing eleven and then was released from team before player’s auction. In that perspective, Rasikh playing first match proves that the youngster has got lot of talent.