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Kashmir’s para-cricketer with no arms an inspiration in cricket world

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Srinagar: South Kashmir resident Aamir Hussain, a mere 20 years old boy with his extraordinary ability to play cricket has people in Bijbehara perplexed. Aamir lost both his arms in a machine accident. The devoted Sachin Tendulkar fan devotes his success to the batting maestro.

Twelve years have passed since the accident. Now he is a cricketer playing for his state, batting, bowling and fielding with ease found in few among his able-bodied peers.

Aamir is a resident of Waghama village near Bijbhehar on the banks of the Jhelum river, which is part of the Kashmir Valley belt that specialises in making the famed Kashmir Willow bat.

Young boys here take to ball and bat at a young age, going out to the field whenever they find the opportunity.

Parvez Rasool- the first Jammu and Kashmir cricketer to find a place in the Indian national team, too hails from Bijbehara.

For Aamir, his dream of becoming a cricketer would have been cut short suddenly when he lost both his arms from the shoulders while playing near a bandsaw machine at a willow-cutting unit.

For Aamir’s parents – Bashir Ahmad Lone and Raja Begum – the accident was a huge shock. His father, a farm labour, sold almost his entire property to save his son, second among five siblings comprising four sons and a daughter.

Aamir remained restricted to a hospital bed for almost three years.

After the young boy got out, he learnt how to live life as a differently-abled person, with his doting grandmother assisting him at each step of the torturous rehabilitation process.

Aamir learnt to perform daily chores, so easy for a normal-bodied person, with his lower limbs. Slowly, but surely, he began picking up objects with his feet and, over a period of time, could lift a glass full of water to his lips, bathe and even comb his hair.

“It took me two years to learn to do all things by myself. Now I do them easily without anyone’s help,” Aamir told reporters.

He also learnt to hold a pen with his foot to write and paint with a brush.

“Initially, I found it very hard to write. But I had no other option. I wanted to prove myself,” Aamir said.

Despite hardships, Aamir again picked up his interrupted studies and cleared his class 10 and 12 examinations. He took each difficulty he faced in life as a challenge, even learning to swim after seeing how the ducks paddled.

Yet his dream of being a cricketer had not quite died down. He developed a unique style of holding the bat between his neck and shoulder, to effectively tackle the bowling. He also acquired another remarkable ability- to hold the red cherry in his toes and hurl it as a leg spin, swinging his foot from the hip.

As to fielding, he does it with aplomb, using his feet dexterously to stop the ball or catch it.

Because of his extraordinary bowling and batting skills, he was picked up for the Jammu and Kashmir para-cricket team in 2013 and soon appointed the captain of the squad.

The devastating floods of 2014 in the Kashmir Valley kept Aamir away from cricket for a year but the state team management did not allow him to remain away from the game for long.

Aamir skippered the state team at the 2015 interstate para-cricket tournament in Lucknow where his team won against Manipur. His performance was greatly appreciated at the tournament by everyone.

Having played in Jammu, Delhi and Lucknow, Aamir now has his sights set on foreign venues representing India at International Para-Cricket tournaments.

Aamir’s struggle for a normal life against all odds is the story of an extraordinary achievement which is likely to inspire several others in the state and elsewhere. (Aadil Mir, IANS)

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2019 is One of India’s Best Years in Cricket: Virat Kohli

Indian cricket in 2019 - A moment to remember

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Virat Kohli Cricket
Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli feels that 2019 was the best year for Indian cricket. Wikimedia Commons

BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH

Captain Virat Kohli’s final statement on Indian cricket at the end of the year was so true. He said, “2019 is one of India’s best years in cricket barring those 30 minutes at the World Cup.” If one reflects on the performance of Indian cricket in 2019 which started with a bang by beating Australia in a Test match series, for the first time, in Australia. This truly remarkable achievement by the Indian side not only gave it that much needed boost to their morale and confidence but also established them as the best Test side in the world.

There were a few defeats during the year but most of them were account of experimenting, resting senior players and giving opportunities to Indian players sitting on the bench.

The most significant moment that humbled the strong Indian cricket side and the year’s performances was their semi-final defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup. The Indian team had played extraordinarily well to head their group in the preliminary stage, losing only to the ultimate winners, England. Chasing a moderate total of 239 runs for victory, India’s formidable top order collapsed in just 30 minutes and were tottering at 24 for 4 even before the first 10 overs were bowled. India never recovered from that blow and their dream of winning another World Cup faded in the horizon.

India Cricket
The most significant moment that humbled the strong Indian cricket side and the year’s performances was their semi-final defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup. Wikimedia Commons

Looking back at the curtains now drawn for the year, this was perhaps the only blemish that tarnished the significant performances of the India side. The great West Indian side had a similar moment in the 1983 final when they lost to India in the World Cup. To them then, it looked like a total that they would normally chase without blinking an eyelid, but, it turned out to be their nemesis.

Cricket has these uncertain moments and the song, “one moment in time” sung by the wonderful singer Whitney Huston for the summer Olympics in 1988 held in Seoul, is so appropriate, not only for an individual but also for a team. These precious moments are all that one hopes and prays for, in the life of a sportsman. This is what finally establishes them and the team of being a winner or an also ran.

The South African cricket side is a good example of how mental pressure of failure could even affect future teams. They have on many occasions looked like a winning side in an ICC tournament and have failed to deliver due to several different reasons. The side is now branded in world cricket as “chokers” and this tag, unfortunately, has remained every time their side plays in another ICC World Cup tournament. They have in the last two decades produced some outstanding cricketers, but somehow lady-luck has never blessed them when they most need it to break out of the barriers of the past.

The year 2020 has the World T20 later in the year in Australia. India will be one of the likely tournament favourites, especially as they have two of the best T20 batsmen in Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as well as three of the top pace bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. At present, the likely Indian T20 team will comprise of a majority of the players who were part of their World Cup 2019 side.

Indian cricket team
The skills, confidence and capability of the Indian cricket team are well known. Wikimedia Commons

This is a major factor that concerns one. For India to be successful, they will need to forget those disastrous 30 minutes of their moment in time of the year 2019. The skills, confidence and capability of the Indian side are well known to one and all, but the team will be tested more on their mental rather than on their cricketing capabilities.

This is where the BCCI will need to play a significant part in ensuring that a mental coaching and strengthening is also an important part in the preparation of the side for the World Cup T20.

International cricket is played more in the mind than on the field. For them to be at the world stage, already makes them players who have the potential and skill to be there. With less than a dozen T20I games left in the Indian calendar before their first World T20 match on October 24, 2020, they not only require to fill the million dollar question that still prevails about the middle order batters, but also, about their mental preparation for the task ahead.

The IPL (Indian Premier League) will play an important part in the final composition of the Indian T20 side, but playing for a franchise is completely different from when one wears the Indian colours.

Also Read- PM Narendra Modi Launched Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

With more than a billion people following every step of the teams’ progress and the added responsibility of playing for the nation, the pressures are as different as chalk and cheese.

One wishes the Indian team a super 2020, with victory over New Zealand and Australia in order to qualify for the final of the ongoing World Test Championship, as well as for them to bring the World T20 trophy home — a cup that they won in the inaugural year of 2007. (IANS)