Kings-XI Punjab were knocked out of Indian Premier League (IPL)-2018 on Sunday and with that vanished the chance of Manzoor Dar (Pandav) to become second ever cricketer from Kashmir to make IPL debut.
Kings-XI played its last and the 14th match of the season on Sunday against Chennai Super Kings in Pune. Punjab needed to win this match by a big margin in order to get place in playoffs. However, they could do neither as Chennai Super Kings went on to win the clash, there by shutting the doors for Kings.
For Kashmir cricket fans who were supporting Kings-XI merely due to presence of Manzoor Pandav it was another disappointing experience as Manzoor was not given a chance to make his debut. Kings played 14 matches and every time Kashmir cricket fans were hoping that they would be seeing Manzoor playing in the middle alongside some of the legends of the game.
Very few may know that Manzoor was third Kashmir cricketer to be part of the IPL team with Muhammad Mudasir being first in the very first edition of the cash rich league in 2008. Mudasir who is seasoned pacer of J&K Ranji team was new at that time but with the backing of J&K Cricket Association he got into Preity Zinta co-owned Kings-XI Punjab side. Mudasir was kept in developmental squad of the team as per catchment state rule. Like Pandav he never got a match to play and Kashmir fans had to wait till the emergence of Parvez Rasool .
Throughout the IPL-2018 campaign, Kings-XI social media cell promoted Pandav in a big way and he was seen hogging the limelight most of the time. Despite all that he was never given a chance to prove himself in the middle. Pandav is hard hitting all-rounder. For J&K he played couple of cameos this season in national arena. When he was picked in IPL players auction for base price of Rs 20 lakhs it looked like that finally he would be able to replicate those performances on bigger stage.
In Kashmir, Pandav is social media craze and his mere mention generates lot of likes and shares. Despite Kings XI ignoring him most of the fans are still loyal to him and blame the team management for discrimination.
“This is last match of Kings-XI and hope they might lose against and get out of IPL…but as expected, Manzoor is not in the eleven as he is from Kashmir as was Mudasir Moulvi, #Rip Pandov,” wrote Shiekh Aijaz on his Facebook page.
M Afzal posted, “Had Kohli been the captain Pandav would have got a chance to play.”
“Very unfortunate Pandav didn’t get a chance even after continuous failures of Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal,” wrote Mortz Muhammad on facebook.
The questions related to Kings-XI Punjab ignoring Manzoor are not restricted to social media. When Parvez Rasool visited Green Valley Institute students asked him why Pandav was not given a chance to play.
“It is not easy to find place among the 25 players. Each team has 25 players and not everyone would be adjusted in playing-XI. To reach this level is big thing and I am happy to see Manzoor there among some of the greats. I am sure he will come out as better cricketer from this experience,” Parvez had replied.