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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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M.S. Dhoni: The man who changed the future of Indian cricket should be permitted to decide his own

The Former Indian Captain was charged by 3 Former cricketers for his continuance in the T20 format

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M.S. Dhoni
Dhoni has been targeted by his ex teammates for underperforming in the 2nd T20 against New Zealand.

Veturi Srivatsa

Seldom does one come across a captain making it a habit of praising his predecessor. And all the former players who played with either or both differ on Mahendra Singh Dhoni playing in the shortest format, Twenty20, advancing different reasons.

It all started with former cricketers Venkata Sai Laxman, Ajit Agarkar and Akash Chopra opposing the continuance of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Twenty20 format after his glaring “failure to pushing things” in the second of the three-match T20 series aginst New Zealand at Rajkot, resulting in India losing by 40 runs.

All the three have put forth different reasons, but their solution is the same, that it’s time Dhoni made way for a youngster to gain international experience. One of them thought that he has no place in the team as a batsman, now that he is not the captain and another felt by pulling out of the shortest format he could prolong his One-Day career.

Ranged against them are Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli himself who all vehementaly differed with the critics, advancing equally valid arguments.

The one man who smartly took the middle path is Virender Sehwag who, while backing his former captain’s selection, wants him to “realise his role” in the team.

The stoutest and the most logical defence of Dhoni, pulling no punches, came from Gavaskar, who was furious at people blaming Dhoni for the Rajkot defeat when the entire team was responsible.

Little Master's stroke to save M.S. Dhoni
Former Indian batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, came in rescue of Dhoni by accusing people for targeting players who are above 30.

One of Gavaskar’s pet theories is people invariably go at a player touching 30 years and are charitable to youngsters who may not have anything to show by way of performance for long stretches. Expectedly, he picked on Hardik Pandya failing to pick leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in successive matches or, for that matter, the openers doing little in Rajkot.

The critics also seem to forget that not long ago Dhoni won a match in the company of No.10 Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, adding 100 runs in Sri Lanka and also the way he rescued India against Australia with Pandya in the first ODI a couple of months ago.

More than Dhoni, the team management must decide where he should bat. Imagine any other player in the team getting pushed like Dhoni had been anywhere between No 4 and No 7 positions. They fancifully call him, as also Pandya, a “floater”. Still, they say they are looking for a “finisher”.

Should Dhoni quit T20 as suggested by some of his former team-mates? It all depends on his place in the ODIs. If he is good enough to play ODIs he must play T-20s also so that he stays match-fit, now that there are most T20s these days. Playing only the Tests is different from playing only one of the shorter formats. It might work for youngsters, but certainly not for those in Dhoni’s age and stage of career.

Kohli and Shastri gave it back to the critics equally forcefully. Kohli echoed Gavaskar’s opinion when he said that Dhoni is being unfairly targeted. He is correct he is not questioned even if he fails in three matches in a row because he is not 35 whereas afer only one failure they say Dhoni’s time is up!

Kohli said in clear words that he and Dhoni know what’s happening out in the middle and they understand what’s best for each and every player.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli also came in support of the former Indian captain.

Ravis Shastri is also equally forthright, describing Dhoni the ultimate team man. He dubbed people who want him out as jealous, waiting for him to fail and end his international career.

Bhuvaneshwar added his bit: No one is bothered (about criticism), he is a legend and his what he is doing benefits the team.

Shastri had the last word: Great players like Dhoni decide their own future. (IANS)

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Will the exciting lineup of new IPL Players get to play in the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

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When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? Pixabay

-by Veturi Srivatsa

New Delhi, October 23, 2017 :
 So much of cricket is being played around the world — Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s. The so-called pecking order is going for a toss with each passing series.

India, who got to the No. 1 position in the One-Day Internationals after beating Australia, vacated it for South Africa who went up beating Bangladesh.

Bangladesh are still playing in South Africa, Sri Lanka in the Gulf, home of Pakistan, and New Zealand are in India for a series each in the two shorter formats. Australia are getting ready for the Ashes and the South Africans will be looking forward to settling a score with India.

Every international side is seriously looking to the 2019 World Cup, building their core component, or is it rebuilding with less than two years for the mega event. Some top cricketers around the world are happy playing in the shorter formats to prolong their careers and with an eye on the pay packages.

There was a time good Test cricketers used to move into the One-Day format on the strength of their technique and fitness. Players now look to get into the Test squad on the weight of their performance in the ODIs. Both the players and the selectors are striking a blance between the long duration domestic cricket and the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL).

India are going through a peculiar renaissance of sorts. Players who are thought to be indispensable not long ago are being rested, rotated and dropped whichever way one wants to take the selectors’ and team management’s perspective.

Not one or two players, practically the entire Test attack is banished to domestic cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are playing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy just to keep them in the loop. Jadeja is, with a vengeance, scoring hundreds and taking wickets.

The captain and chief coach Ravi Shastri seem to be calling the shots. Virat Kohli, like his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is slowly seeing the back of senior cricketers who he feels are slow coaches in the field, Jadeja being the exception. Both Jadeja and Ashwin had to go out for their inability to take wickets in the middle-overs on a regular basis.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal are providing the variety in the attack and importantly they are taking wickets bowling at any stage of the match. Axar Patel is doing the backup job. If Ashwin and Jadeja are in consideration for 2019, then they should also get to bowl a lot of overs before their fate is decided once and for all.

If there are four players good enough to open the innings, none of them is being considered for a middle-order position. Actually, Lokesh Rahul is the man the team management wants to keep him in the squad. He also prefers to open the innings and he just couldn’t adjust at No.4 behind Kohli. Hardik Pandya was tried at four and looked good in one match and then he became a floater, pushing Dhoni up and down.

Ajinkya Rahane continues to be a stop-gap opener, getting an opportunity whenever Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan are out through injuries. Strangely, he is not seen as a middle-order bat after an impression was created that he cannot rotate the strike, though it was during his early years in international cricket.

The other middle-order slots are now with Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey, both have good performances and the powers that be think the two should to be nursed, particularly Jadhav who is not only a handy bowler but also a decent wicket-keeper in an emergency. Rahul is another who keen keep wickets. Amazingly, the squad to play New Zealand has a regular wicket-keeper, Dinesh Karthik as a batsman. He is also seen as a contender for the No.4 position.

Kohli continues to be the man to hold both the top order and in the middle, more so while chasing. His record is amazing going into his 200th match on Sunday against New Zealand in Mumbai. He has 12 hundreds more than Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who had 18 each at the very stage of their careers.

Kohli’s faith in Dhoni as his onfield consultant gives a totally different connotation to captaincy. None of the Fab Four or Five ever looked demonstrably carrying the side as Dhoni looks today. The arrangement is working out perfectly fine. The two are pulling the the youngsters in the side with them to give them confidence.

When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? When will Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana or someone like all-rounder Washington Sundar and fast bowler Mohammad Siraj get a look in?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Veturi Srivatsa, a senior journalist and was first published at IANS. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at sveturi@gmail.com)

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Film Stars step out for a Friendly Cricket Match to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cancer Patients

Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing

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Rajneesh Duggal was part of the crew who played the friendly match. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 22, 2017 : Film celebrities like Rajneesh Duggall, Zayed Khan and Saqib Saleem stepped out for a friendly cricket match to create awareness and raise funds for cancer patients.

They played as part of the Ink Cricket Blast 2017 here on Saturday.

The cause is close to Rajneesh’s heart as someone in his family is suffering from cancer.

“This is a great initiative and I am always up for a social issue. This is something which is very close to my heart. Someone in my life has been suffering from it and cancer is something I’ve always personally associated with and I feel whatever I can do from my side, I must do,” he said.

“Fukrey” fame actor Varun didn’t participate in the game, but he was there to show support.

“There is always a connection with a social cause. If you combine sports with a social cause, there is nothing better than that! Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing,” he said.

Saqib said “it’s a great cause and cricket is religion in India”.

The actor is currently finishing a film with Taapsee Pannu. It’s tentatively called “Makhna”, which will come out early next year. (IANS)