ON his flight from Srinagar to Chennai, Parvez Rasool jotted down a list of things to be achieved in the next two weeks with the India A side in Chennai. Topping the to-do list are endless questions with coach Rahul Dravid whom he has never worked before, followed by a request to Dravid to have a small session with Jammu & Kashmir Ranji team.
Beneath the calm exterior is a restlessness that comes with the knowledge that time is running out to get back to the Indian team. The return of Harbhajan Singh for the ODI tour to Zimbabwe and Test series for Sri Lanka has given clear indication that selectors aren’t convinced with the back-up they have. To be precise, the selectors don’t trust their ‘A’ company.
Rasool knows that past season hasn’t been ideal for him but he also believes that he didn’t get enough opportunities to prove himself. When he made his international debut in January 2014, a year after he made it to the Indian squad, and Kashmir rejoiced, Rasool thought that road ahead was clear but it proved to be a false dawn.
“I was so close to have my international debut in Zimbabwe two years ago but it didn’t happen. It took another one year to play for India. I have been part of two IPL teams but number of matches I have played is still in single digit. Even games for India A have been in few numbers,” he says on the waiting game. He remembers a knock of 25 from the A tour of South Africa but is quick to say that it came batting low down the order. He then talks about his desire to bat higher in the order.
“Sometimes it is very disturbing and disappointing not to get enough chances. One can only perform if they are given confidence that they will be playing more games. Some type of assurance, what happens is that when you play, you keep thinking about next game. This happens with most of the players,” he says.
Even in IPL where he represented Sunrisers Hyderabad, he played just two games in the end of the tournament. Being a water boy can be disillusioning especially when you are hero of your domestic side. So what did Rasool do in IPL, even when his team were finding tough to win initial league games?
Practising with the great
“Ask Murali,” he says, referring to Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan, who was their bowling coach. “I kept bowling in the nets for hours, kept asking him questions. How did he succeed, how did get wickets, how much hard work he did. Everything. Woh kabhi kabar bolta tha, ab bus kar, kal practice karenge (occasionally, he would say enough, lets practice tomorrow!) but I kept on persisting,” he adds.
Guidance and mentorship is another factor that Rasool talks about a lot. He says that he is not lucky like many city boys, who keep on meeting such kind of players. He doesn’t hesitate to say that world has moved forward in 21st century but back at his home, his state association Jammu & Kashmir is still living in 1950’s.
“These India A boys have someone to look at back home, I don’t have any. So these India A are the opportunity to learn as much as I can. Where I will get a chance to speak to Dravid? Last season we played domestic matches away, we were without home venue. There are many issues but whole team is fighting to do well,” he says.
What is he expecting or hoping from the tri-series against A teams from Australia and South Africa that starts on August 5? Is there a fear that he might remain a one-match wonder in the statistics books.
He takes a while before replying, “Chance mile bus, thoda jyada chance mere matlab. (Let me get a chance, I mean more chances.) Rest I will try my best.”
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