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Why this hullabaloo about Parvez Rasool?

Parvez Ghulam Rasool Zargar, to give his full name, is a decent offspinner and handy batsman to be considered a bowling all-rounder. It is immaterial whether he came from Kashmir or Kerala, he will play for India if he is good enough to earn his cap. A cap can’t be handed out for sentimental reasons.

Parvez not being handed his India cap on the Zimbabwe tour of one-dayers, which ended Saturday, has unnecessarily become the talking point, thanks to his state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah going to town criticising his non-selection even when his father Farooq Abdullah, who is the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, did not react so vehemently.

When has Omar Abdullah started taking such keen interest in cricket and what is this specious argument that if 14 players got to play why not the 15th. If only he had shown the same alacrity in unravelling the mystery of over Rs 50 crores vanishing from the books of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, the state’s cricketers like Parvez would have benefited more. His pleading tweets, ‘Come on BCCI give the young man a chance to prove himself’, and ‘Did you have to take him all the way to Zim to demoralise him? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to do it at home?’ may have given him politically a kick, but it is in poor taste, unless he wants to take credit for the young man’s exploits on cricket field.

Omar should have also taken to task some people in the valley who make no secret of their dislike of Parvez playing for India and their statements that they would support their cricketer but not India. Worse, they said they would not even support the lad from Bijbehara, a small town in Anantnag district, if he plays a key role in India beating Pakistan! Not to be left behind, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor joined with his percussion: ‘Bizarre selection.

Could easily have rested Jadeja and Raina for Rasool and Rahane,’ he tweeted. ‘What’s the point leading 4-0 if you can’t give every member of the touring team a chance to play at least once now by reshuffling the deck?’ Not taking away their right to express their views, do they at least concede that the national selectors, coach and captain are competent enough to pick the squad and the playing eleven?
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