As India lifted the world title in the first-ever T20 Physical Disability Cricket World Series after defeating England in the final played at Worcestershire on Tuesday evening, team’s 26-year-old opener Wasim Iqbal’s thoughts went back to his family in Gopalpora village near Anantnag.
“I wanted to contact them during the tournament and also after my half-century against Pakistan on the day of Eid. But due to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, I could not contact them and was worried about them too. But I am sure whenever they hear the news of me helping the Indian team to win the world title, they will be happy. I am happy to play my part for the Indian team to win the title here in England,” said Iqbal.
20-year-old pacer Aamir Hassan, who hails from Baramulla, was also part of the historic victory. Batting first, Indian team posted a total of 180 for 7 in the 20 overs. R G Sante smashed a half century (53), while S Mahendran played a knock of 33 runs. Wasim Iqbal, who had scored a half-century against Pakistan in the semi-finals, got out on zero in the final. Chasing the target, England could manage a total of a total of 144 for 9 in 20 overs. S Goyat and K D Phanse claimed two wickets each for the winning team. Hassan bowled two overs and gave away 22 runs in the title clash.
The tournament was organised by England and Wales Cricket Board and the Indian team by All India Cricket Association for Physically Challenged was backed by the BCCI.
Apart from the duo from Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab players Mandeep Singh, who played in four matches, and Gurjant Singh, who did not play in any match, were part of the Indian team for the tournament.
Iqbal, who had started playing cricket at the age of seven and started competing in physically disabled tournaments from this year, has a stiff knee in the right leg, while Hassan has fingers of his left hand amputated. Iqbal had played a knock of 69 runs off 43 balls for India against Pakistan in the semi-finals on Monday, in which India won by eight wickets.
Ravi Chauhan, manager of the Indian team and secretary general of the All India Cricket Association for Physically Challenged, said: “It has been a historic day for Indian para cricket. After the four para cricket bodies merged, this body was formed and we decided to send the team in this World Series backed by the BCCI. The way Wasim played against Pakistan was tremendous. Even though he could not contact his family in Anantnag during the tournament and also on Eid on Monday due to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he wanted them to see his performance on Monday and today on television.”
He added: “Hassan too played in the final and they were celebrating with the rest of the team members after the title win at the ground. Mandeep played in four matches before the final and gave some good performances. Unfortunately Gurjant could not play in any of the match but the players will learn a lot from this experience.”