"My thanks and salaam to Jammu and Kashmir," said off-spinner Parvez Rasool soon after he became the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to earn a place in the national side. He has been named in the 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI tour of Zimbabwe. (Also Read: Jammu and Kashmir rejoices after Rasool's inclusion in India squad)
The 24-year-old had an impressive domestic season and caught the eye this year with a seven-wicket haul in Chennai against the visiting Australians while playing for the Board President's XI. He also earned his IPL cap this year when he replaced leg-spinner Rahul Sharma to find a place in the playing XI of the Pune Warriors. (Read: Rasool has good temperament, should play his natural game, says former J&K coach Bishan Singh Bedi)
"I was hoping that they will rest some players and I will get a chance. I want to get to the highest point," Rasool said today, adding, "J&K has many talented players, but the facilities are less. Parvez belongs to Bijbehara in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, once considered a hot-bed of militancy. (Read: My hardwork has paid off, says Parvez Rasool)
In 2009, the young player was detained by the Bangalore police for questioning in connection with the suspected presence of explosives at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. He was released a few days later, but did not allow the incident to set him back as he forged ahead to make a mark in cricket.
He had been in contention for national selection for a while now and got the nod as the selectors picked a young team for the five-game series, to be held from July 24 to August 3 in Harare and Bulawayo.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has called congratulated the promising all-rounder and tweeted, "Have heard the great news about Parvez Rasool being selected to play for India against Zimbabwe. Well deserved selection. Make us proud now."
Farooq Abdullah, the president of Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association also hailed the off spinner's selection as a great moment for the state. "It's a great day for all of us, a great moment for the state of Jammu and Kashmir that this player has emerged and I hope this is the beginning for Jammu and Kashmir players to be considered for future," he told NDTV today.