By: Mohsin Kamal
Srinagar: From being a minnow side for decades to a sudden rise before another fall, the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team has witnessed many ups and downs in its journey so far in the Indian domestic cricket circuit. Many of the players almost broke into the national side, however, lately either getting ignored or failing to live up the expectations.
Parvez Rasool although finally broke the jinx by earning an international gig. However, before opening gate for others, he was sidelined again. Hence taking J&K cricket back to where it was. Nonetheless, the task of reviving J&K’s status in the domestic arena is on, there have been several players who were unlucky to not play enough cricket at the highest level for the erstwhile state. These players either faced selectors’ wrath or couldn’t showcase their skills when it mattered the most. Below, we tried to trace 11 such unlucky cricketers of J&K from the recent past.
1. Abid Nabi (C)
Abid Nabi, a name that once resounded in each lane of Jammu and Kashmir, is nowhere in the scene presently. The lanky pacer wasn’t just a cricketer who left marks in domestic cricket, he reached quite close to make it to the highest level.
However, due to several negligences, including the participation in controversial now-defuct Indian Cricket League, he almost ended his career despite being on peak. The Srinagar-born cricketer though made a couple of comebacks, selectors didn’t find him interesting enough.
2. Imran Haroon
Who can forget the flamboyant innings Imran Haroon played in his debut Ranji Trophy match against Bengal. The opener smashed century on debut, becoming first player from J&K to do so. However, afterwards, he wasn’t provided enough opportunities to make a case.
3. Umar Nissar
A young batsman who timed the ball tremendously, was what defined Umar Nissar. He played a few matches for J&K at the highest level, however, failed to leave an impression. Since he hasn’t appeared in any of the formats.
4. Sahil Sharma
Sahil Sharma, alike Umar, was a skilled young player who apart from his batting skills, was capable of rolling his arms as well. He too couldn’t hit enough runs in a few matches he was provided with.
5. Samad Bhat (WK)
A resident of Dehradun with roots in Srinagar, Samad Bhat, was a highly talented wicketkeeper batsman. After impressing in the age-group cricket, he was promoted to the senior team. The right-handed batsman though produce flop performances constantly, hence losing his place in the team.
6. Puneet Kumar
J&K hasn’t lately seen many strong stroke-makers. Puneet Kumar was one such player who could hit the ball long way. He made a few appearances in T20 format, even scoring some runs. However, he suddenly disappeared and hasn’t played at the higher level thereafter.
7. Vijay Dogra
Dogra was considered future of Jammu cricket, owing to his elegance with the ball. He though didn’t get any matches apart from a solitary Ranji Trophy and T20 game. In Ranji, he scalped a 3-for on debut.
8. Omar Alam
He swung it and swung it well. Omar Alam, a Srinagar based cricketer, was more than good with the ball apart from handy batting skills. He, however, didn’t get enough opportunities to get going.
9. Vishwajeet Singh
Fast bowlers aren’t as common in Jammu region as in Kashmir. Seldom do we see a quick bowler who could bowl at an alarming pace. Vishwajeet Singh was one such seamer. He also disappeared shortly after playing a few matches.
10. Mehjoor Sofi
Still one of the quickest bowlers in the J&K, Mehjoor Sofi, has been quite unlucky. He has only appeared in a handful of matches at the highest level despite owning all the ingredients that a good seamer needs to have.
11. Manik Gupta
Manik although appeared in a healthy number of matches, considering the unique talent of leg-spin he owned, the Jammu cricketer could have played more. He picked quite a few wickets before producing flop performances constantly to lose his place in the team.
Mohsin Kamal is the editor of Kashmir Sports Watch