There’s this Indian cricketer who has absolutely and totally captured my imagination. It kills me that he is not all over the news. On a scale of one to ten for mental toughness, he’d spinal tap the rest of the country and score an eleven. At least.
Haha, nope, not Raina.
Not Manoj Tiwary. Sreesanth is a
pretty good terrible guess, but no dice.
Here’s a hint. In his most recent first class game, he had a seven wicket haul and a century in the same game and in the game before that, he had a 170 plus score to his name. Although in his case, numbers matter as much as Orkut testimonials.
Okay, here he is. Pervez Rassol. P E R V E Z R A S SO L. Take a good look.
Right hand bat, Part time off spinner. Full time “Iron Man.”
Do you guys remember the Victoria Bushrangers Vs Cape Cobras game in the 2009 Champions League? No? I didn’t either, I had to look it up. On a bright and breezy Bangalore afternoon, as these two teams were getting ready to put on what has, in hindsight, turned out to be a clearly forgettable show, a drama of tragic proportions was played out at the KSCA residential quarters.
Rassol was originally picked for the Jammu and Kashmir senior team, but was packed off to Bangalore for the Under-22 game against Karnataka, where his association felt he was really needed. Bangalore, minus the traffic, is a great place to visit. I lived there for 20 years, and I highly recommend the early morning Lalbagh run, followed by breakfast at MTR or Vidyarthi Bhavan. Maybe an afternoon stroll taking in the sights of Attara kacheri or Tipu’s Palace, and of course a half dozen fine alehouses. I can imagine young Pervez, probably on his first trip to Bangalore, would have had a similar laundry list of Bangalore addas he’d have wanted to go to. Bet the Police Station was not one of them.
Rassol, along with a team mate of his, were picked up by the Police on suspicion of RDX possession in their kit-bag. There it was, the scanner said, tucked in at the bottom of his kit right under his pads.
To cut a long story short, the cops took Pervez away. Not sure what happened in the police station to him, but this was less than a year after 26/11, so I can only imagine the worst. My bias is also heavily colored by my only experience inside one. (Relax, I got mugged in 2004 and had to lodge an FIR).
A few days later, Pervez was released. You see, the machine malfunctioned. It was a unfortunate coincidence that a couple of Jammu and Kashmir lads just happened to be around the KSCA when this happened.
Inexplicably, Pervez stayed and played the pointless C K Nayudu Fixture (Which selector is looking at a Karnataka vs J &K Under 22 tie?). He made a 69, 4 days after being stabbed in the heart by his cricket loving countrymen.
Three years ago, I understood that this 21 year old is made of sterner stuff. It made me think a little harder about Jammu and Kashmir. Beyond all the postcards of Gulmarg, Tangmarg, Srinagar and the gut wrenching newsreels which I saw, year on year, since 1986, I actually knew nothing of the people. Kashmiris were not really easy to find in Bangalore. The whole Pervez Rassol experience was a damning reality check. A year later, I went to Kashmir for my December vacation. By the strangest of circumstances, cricket had made another entirely unrelated issue, extremely personal.
Rassol continues to play for Jammu and Kashmir and still churns out solid performances. I have no idea if he is ever going to read this (Probably not), but if someone does have his email Id, please send him this piece, and tell him, on behalf of Bangalore, I apologize. Beer and Ghee Masala Dosa on me. Please come again.
Image Credits: www.indiatimes.com http://www.starsports.com/