It was almost the end of the final day of the VIVO Indian Premier League player auctions. The big names had already gone under the hammer, and the uncapped players were now being auctioned. Kings XI Punjab had almost exhausted their purse and seemed to be quite satisfied with their Pride. However, there was still one more lion they were saving up for, and eventually he became the last of the Kings’ Generals. That man was the ‘Katar from Kashmir’, a six-foot-two Hulk named Manzoor Dar (Pandav).
Khalibali in the Valley
Once news of Dar’s selection in Kings XI Punjab starting spreading, the big man’s fans and fellow Kashmiris were ecstatic with joy. Twitter went crazy, with a number of tweets congratulating him and praising Kings XI Punjab for their selection. A video of the celebration in Dar’s hometown even started appearing on the site.
Manzoor Dar was born into a farmer family in the Bandipora district of Kashmir. Despite being bitten by the cricket bug early in his life, Dar had to put his dreams on the back-burner owing to his family’s financial conditions. When times started getting hard in the Dar household, Manzoor had to take up responsibility as the bread winner, being the eldest amongst his 12 siblings. He soon quit his education and took up a job as a security guard. However, he also safeguarded his own dreams of becoming a cricketer and travelled around 10 kilometres every day to practise at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium. His commitment to the sport soon won him a place in the Jammu and Kashmir team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2017. Things were finally looking up for the budding cricketer.
With an intimidating stature and batting strength to match, Dar soon took the spotlight at the domestic level and justified his nick name ‘Pandav’. He could rattle oppositions with his big hitting ability and was able to contribute in equal measure with the ball. In the nine T20 matches he played, he averaged 30.83 with a strike rate 146. He also picked up 6 wickets with his right-arm medium pacers and had a miserly economy rate of just 6.47. His game suited the short format of the game perfectly and people had already started taking serious note of the youngster.
Owing to the young man’s big hits he soon became known as the ‘sixer man of Kashmir’ or the ‘100m six man’. The crowd started taking cover when he went in to bat as he made it rain sixes with his clean strikes. He kept working on his stroke making and was soon a valuable asset in the lower middle order. He will soon be sharing the dressing room with the likes of Aaron Finch, the Gaylestorm, Punjab da puttar Yuvraj Singh and have one of the most aggressive batsman in the history of the game, Virender Sehwag, who he will undoubtedly get to learn a lot from. His addition to the Kings XI Punjab side gives them the fire power at the bottom of the batting line up to go after the bowling even if a few wickets fall early on.
The selection of Manzoor Dar will undoubtedly give hope to more budding cricketers from Kashmir and hopefully we will see greater representation from the region in coming years. Till then ‘Pandav’ will look to take the league by storm and team mein hai Manzoor toh Punjab ko kiska Dar?
Courtesy : Kings XI Punjab website with , link here (https://www.kxip.in/features/manzoor-dar-the-kashmiri-with-a-heavenly-hitting-ability-621)