Exclusive – IPL 2019: Kulgam Pace Sensation Rasikh Salam Dar Swings it Big
Indian Premier League (IPL 2019) rostrum was abuzz as unknown commodities have had hit the jackpot, yet again. For instance: Tamil Nadu’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who has as many as seven variations in his arsenal—to bamboozle batsmen. On similar lines, but solely with a different trait, from the picturesque Mirpora, Ashmuji of Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) State—a name that signifies ‘stability’, has emerged to deliver a punch above his weight. Well, it’s none other than the budding 17-year-old pace and swing sensation Rasikh Salam Dar.
To be precise, at one stage—the raw recruit is going to rock and roll with a ball in his hand. His stock-ball is an outrageous Inswinger and the searing Yorker as an add-on. Isn’t it quite interesting to have it as a teenager who barely has any experience of the first-class cricket? He further has that knack of sending the stumps cartwheeling which was eventually on display during the second edition of the Burzhama Premier League (BPL) in Kashmir.
A five-feet-eight Rasikh has been a solitary cricketer from J&K—to fetch the decent bid in the recently-held IPL Players’ Auction 2019 in Jaipur. The Three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians availed his services at his base price: INR 20 lakh (approx US $28,466).
Rasikh alongside other 350 players underwent the hammer in which the fate of 60 players was eventually decided on December 18 (Tuesday) by the newly-appointed Britain-based International auctioneer Hugh Edmeades.
“First of all, thanks to Almighty Allah for showering his choicest blessings upon me. I am excited on joining Mumbai Indians’ camp. I look forward to give it a best shot,” Rasikh told Sportzwiki in an exclusive interview.
Rejection to reward:
Rasikh, who saw a rejection from selectors, has now transformed himself to a large extent. If not that of a bogeyman, but certainly as a celebrated protagonist–to claim his fame. Now, a shy character has become the talk of the town, and it eventually became a common theme to look down among the sea of faces back in the politically-troubled hamlet. All in all, Rasikh is all set to add colours to its canvas on joining Mumbai Indians’ Paltan. Frankly, Rasikh story has been beyond that of a jilted lover.
However, a player like Rasikh didn’t lose hope before walking on with his chin up. And there have been issues which eventually cropped up in the Jammu and Cricket Association (JKCA). Anyway, it has to be another day topic for the discussion.
Fortune favours the brave:
Over the years, the cricketers have mushroomed in the Kashmir region, but the dearth in infrastructure, in the recent past has further witnessed talented pool of players going off the radar. Remember, Rasikh made it through from a region where only turf wicket exists in the contemporary cricket. And it has to be a shame for such petty politics which has hit cricket in particular.
Imagine what if Rasikh had been among them! Well, it would’ve certainly been a tragedy within a tragedy. Without much success, he represented Wild Warriors Cricket Club (RCC) and Rehmat Ul Alam Cricket Club (RCC) respectively. He grew up while playing cricket in the narrow lanes of Mirpora before he shot into the limelight. And his sudden emergence augurs well for young cricketers in the Vale.
Beyond the distant memory, Rasikh further accredited his success to the teachers. He added Hanfia Model Institute in his village had played an essential role in his booming rise before actually becoming a poster boy for Kashmir.
And Rasikh proudly says: “I was going to Abbu’s school and there on, I measure the paces to immerse into the fast bowling thing.”
Meanwhile, J&K Cricket Team skipper Parvez Rasool has expressed excitement over the inclusion of young rising star. He wished him luck ahead of the twelfth edition of IPL.
“Rasikh has honed his skills well. He is the youngster to look at. The biggest factor is that he has age on his side. I wish him all the best for future endeavours,” Rasool asserted.
Lone star in IPL from a lone turf:
Pragmatically, the landscape of cricket back in the wonderland is again in full swing, and a teenager in Rasikh has once again ignited hopes among the youngsters waiting in the wings. To atop it, he’s proud son of a teacher Abdul Salam Dar.
“It is the matter of pride for us, so as, the valley. He has made it all the way to Mumbai Indians. He has achieved what he actually dreamt off. I was always concerned about his studies. But the way, he made a progress in the field of sports it’s to be commendable,” maintained Rasikh’s jubilant father Salam.
Rasikh has all in his tank—to be touted as the next big thing in J&K cricket. Tantalisingly, after being ignored for over two years, Rasikh’s next-level push came from the mega distinct district-level tourney which according to Rasool has happened for the first-time in J&K’s history.
“He [Rasikh] is the outcome of the streamlined procedure of JKCA. We’re very thankful to the Committee of Administrators and Co [Aashiq Bukhari],” Rasool added.
Gone are those days when J&K witnessed die-hard fans decorating the walls with the photos of distinct international cricketers.
Now, it has its own incredibly talented crop of players—to make waves in the world cricket.
Also, Rasikh has thanked JKCA’s mentor-cum-player Irfan Pathan and Rasool for showing faith in him.
“Irfan Bhai’s [Pathan’s] role in shaping me up has a lot to do with it. The unconditional support from Parry Bhai [Parvez] has certainly helped me to gauge my level and where I am supposed to be on [in coming years]. They’ve provided me each and everything whatever I have asked for,” Rasikh stated.
Interestingly, recently the newly-appointed governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik pushed in a strong case for J&K’s IPL team. Baring political connotations, such things in itself would instead suggest a gradual change owing to the sports in the hamlet.
A dream to bowl alongside Lasith Malinga:
With sporting culture having an impact, J&K state had further housed a few big names like Abdul Qayoom Bhagaw, Rasool and Samiullah Beigh who inspired many in the fold alongside many others.
“I would love to rub shoulders alongside the stalwarts of the game. It would be an honour to bowl alongside star attraction Lasith Malinga. There is a lot to learn from the star players. Their experience means a lot for the team,” Rasikh maintained.
Known more for his banana-like swing bowling, Rasikh in a very short period had impressed one and all with his exciting bowling stuff. While learning the art of fast bowling, he further mastered the skill of bowling on the same spot. It eventually infused a new life in him at the tender age of seven.
Since being a novice, Rasikh is backed by his brother Irfan Salam Dar and his cousin Nadeem Javaid Dar respectively.
Kulgam boy set eyes on Rawalpindi star:
Rasikh, who praised the efforts of Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar, has the capability of generating more pace to kneel the batters. At his peak, the exciting prospect could clock around 135kphh which make him doubly equally threatening with his seam and swing. To strengthen the muscles, Rasikh might not have an idea to throw boulders like Akhtar, but he decided on not to skip the practice sessions.
“Shoaib Akhtar has been a fascination to watch in his heydays. His struggles made him to achieve more as a fast bowler. I love his trademark celebration [Plane Takeoff]. He certainly has to be in my favourite list, so as, Brett Lee and Zaheer Khan. Well, the pumped up characters inspire me a lot,” Rasikh remarked.
While immersing into the game in the politically-troubled region, Rasikh maintains there’re ways to work on and to have satisfactory results.
It might be an attempt to excel at such a platform which has witnessed players scripting the glory right from the get-go.
Skiddy with his action, Rasikh this year represented J&K team in Vijay Hazare Trophy on October 3 2018, before impressing the talent scouting team of Mumbai Indians. Exceptionally with the ball, Rasikh further fared well during his two-round trial for the former IPL champions Indians.
Talking further about the upward journey of the right-arm pacer Rasikh, it eventually took him just three vicious deliveries to impress Irfan Pathan, who’s a mentor-cum cricketer for J&K team. Rasikh impressed the Baroda-based cricketer Pathan with such sheer pace, fizz in a nutshell.
“Rasikh is a talented lad and we are looking forward to explore such raw talent in the valley,” Pathan maintained earlier.
Remarkable in his way, Rasikh claimed a hat-trick during a practice game at the historic Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium. He eventually made it to the Under-19 team to play two List-A matches of Vijay Hazare Trophy.
However, he could bag two scalps while conceding 99 runs off 106 deliveries.
All in all, Rasikh has emerged as one of the premium contenders—to grab the eyeballs in the domestic circuit without having too much in his cricketing CV.
Rookie to a Torchbearer:
It’s not about how much you’re going to fetch during the bidding war. But it is more about that much-awaited opportunity—to become a torchbearer and then certainly rule the roost. In such a way, ecstatic Rasikh has done half-of -a-job.
Before signing off, Rasikh credited his success to the family for their unconditional support.
“I am thankful to my parents who’ve extended support in all possible ways to me,” Rasikh concluded.
So, the punchline has to be: here comes an unknown commodity to carve out the niche. Rasikh subsequently cherishes the physics behind fast bowling. And for that, he might have to give up a Kanger (portable heater) and the Pheran (cloak), this harsh winter, for his much-awaited warm-up exercises.
Having a lean frame, Rasikh has an age on his side to dictate the terms in the gentleman’s game. Interestingly, to quench his thirst in his own way, he waited eagerly at the boundary line. Delicately, work hard until you don’t reap the rewards, is an apt sentence which sits well with Rasikh’s maiden berth in the successful domestic professional tourney IPL.
He’s quite young and could turn cold like the weather in Kashmir or at the same time blow hot in Mumbai. A chance would undoubtedly do a favour to promising Rasikh, to prove his mettle. His quest to make it big lies between heartbreak and heroics in the same breath. Rasikh would be there to win. It’s more than a battle; it would be his way of writing the script.
Let’s wait and watch!
In conclusion, if nursed well, such a greenhorn like Rasikh has enough potential to go a long way. If all goes well and without any jinx, plainly he could be India’s next rockstar in the bowling department.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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