TWO seasons ago,Mohammed Mudhasir was playing for Srinagar Shahjahans in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL),a T20 tournament. He was part of the Kings XI Punjab squad in 2008,but didnt get a game. What added to his frustration was that his 22 wickets in four Under-22 games got him only a single Ranji Trophy cap. The selectors didnt back the medium-pacer after he conceded 142 runs and went wicket-less on his debut.
Mudhasirs father advised him to focus on his studies instead. Taking the snubs and failures to heart,Mudhasir completed his graduation. He ignored the game and didnt train for two years. He was happy picking up the odd match-of-the-match trophy in local games.
But as luck would have it,Bishan Singh Bedi who was the coach of Jammu and Kashmir Ranji team,witnessed the KPL final in which Mudhasir played and saw a future in the wiry medium-pacer. Mudhasir started to believe in himself again and trained harder than ever before.
On Sunday,the final day of his tenth Ranji match,Mudhasir finished with five for 29 in 9.4 overs to win the man-of-the-match award. His match-winning effort helped J&K bowl out Kerala in 41.4 overs to register a 278 run win in the nick of time.
Mudhasir played a part in his sides third outright win of the season. It was a watershed moment,considering that the last time J&K won three matches in the league stage,was in the 2000-2001 season when Ajay Jadeja was captain.
Thirteen seasons ago the side had reached the knockouts. On current form,they look good to advance.
There is a renewed sense of belief among cricketers in the region since two of their players have made rapid strides. One is skipper Parvez Rasool,who was part of the India squad that toured Zimbabwe earlier this year. The second Ian Dev Singh scored 145 on his Duleep Trophy debut.
One of the players to get inspired by his teammates progress is Adil Rishi,the J&K opener,who played in the same KPL team as Mudhasir.
On Sunday,the hosts had come out to bat with the intention of trying to gain maximum points on the final morning. In the first session,they scored 203 runs in 35 overs for the loss of just one wicket.
Rishi,overnight on 68 was unbeaten on 160 when skipper Parvez Rasool completed his century and declared ten minutes after lunch at 337 for two with an overall lead of 412. From here on,the visitors were battling for a draw while J&K strived for an improbable win.
By tea,the hosts had become favourites. Five Kerala batsmen were back in the pavilion for just 70 runs in 80 minutes and a sixth batsman – Robert Fernandes – was dismissed two minutes after the break. The J&K medium-pacers were pressing for a win with Mudhasir scalping three,Samiullah Beigh two and Ram Dayal Punia accounting for one before tea.
babys vigil ends
When the last hour began with 15 mandatory overs left,Kerala skipper Sachin Baby and his partner Perumparambath Antaf had added 38 in 86 balls for the seventh wicket in little over an hour.
Babys 75-ball vigil,during which he shielded Antaf,came to an end when in his attempt to leave the ball resulted in it hitting his arm guard and striking the stumps. Punia had removed the stubborn Kerala skipper. But there were only another 13 overs left and a win for the home side was still three wickets away.
Of the seven batsmen dismissed till then,four had fallen leg-before wicket,two had been bowled and one caught behind. Like the previous day,the J&K medium pacers were pitching the ball up and allowing the natural movement to take over.
The slip cordon was well packed with seven men placed in the arc between point and the keeper. Rasool,who bowled seven overs of off-spin,switched back to medium pace from both ends as the overs were running out.
The results followed.
Mudhasir trapped left-arm spinner CP Shahid in front. Antaf was caught in the slips off Beigh. No.10 Prasanth Parameshwaran was bowled by Mudhasir in a perfect finish for the medium-pacer,who has found his way back into first-class cricket.
Brief scores: Jammu and Kashmir: 377 & 337 for two wickets in 67.4 overs (Adil Rishi 160 not out,Parvez Rasool 100 not out; Perumparambath Anthaf 1/62) beat Kerala: 307 & 129 all out in 41.4 overs (Sachin Baby 38; Mohammed Mudhasir 5/31) by 278 runs
Points: J & K 6,Kerala 0