Kashmir cricketer overcomes tension to win game for India vs Pak

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/14/2019 11:31:51 AM

NEW DELHI, Aug 13(Agencies): This Eid was strange yet a memorable one for Wasim Iqbal. For the first time in life, the 25-year-old opener of the Indian physical disability team was away from home on the festival day.
On Monday, as he stepped out to bat against Pakistan at Worcestershire's Kidderminster Cricket club in the final league game of the first T20 Physical Disability World Championship, Iqbal thought about his family back home in the Gopal Pora village of the Anantnag district in Kashmir. He last spoke to them on August 3, just before the valley became incommunicado.
"I was very tense. I still am. I haven't spoken to my family since last almost 10 days. It was difficult to put everything behind and concentrate on the match, that too against Pakistan, the most awaited one of the tournament for us. However, I managed to pull it off and win the game for my team," Iqbal told a national news channel from England.
The young lad scored a match-winning 43-ball 69 which included six sixes and four fours as India chased down Pakistan's total of 150 in 17.1 overs.
"I got the man-of-the-match award. To do this on Eid was so special, this was such a big day for me. Unfortunately, my family would not even know about it. I am worried for them and I am sure they will be very concerned for me too. I wish I could communicate with them just for a few minutes. They were so excited when I was leaving for this tournament," says Iqbal almost pleadingly.
An engineering graduate Iqbal is still searching for a job. A leg surgery went wrong in childhood ensured a lifelong problem in his right leg. Still as other youngsters chose different path in the highly volatile district, Iqbal picked up a cricket bat and joined the local club 'Khan Sultans' which is mentored by local star Parvez Rasool who played one ODI and one T20I for India. Cricketing gear of both players from Kashmir in India's physically disabled team - Iqbal and fast bowler Aamir Hasan - have been sponsored by Rasool too.
"You know the bat with which I played yesterday's knock has been gifted to me by Parvez bhai. He stays not too far from our village and has mentored many youngsters like me. I am so happy that I playing this tournament with the bat and kit bag gifted by him. There is so much talent in Kashmir. If peace prevails, we will see many players playing for India from the region."
Iqbal admits that a win in the tournament final on Tuesday evening will give a huge boost to disability cricket in India. It will also mean time to return home and meet his family.
"I am so much looking forward to flying back home and meet my loved ones. But I hope that the connectivity is restored before we take off from England. I am so excited to tell them about my achievement here," Iqbal says hours before the biggest match of his life.



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