Akeel Rashid

Tral boy making a mark in ‘English Club Cricket’

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Srinagar, July 29: There is no dearth of cricketers in Kashmir and this passion for the game of cricket among the youngsters can be gauged from the fact that every year a good number of cricket tournaments are being organized at each district level which sees the participation of players from all across the Kashmir.

This passion for cricket in Kashmir has fetched players like Parvaiz Rasool, Aabid Nabi and Manzoor Pandaw a name at international cricket formats.

Zahid Nisar, 24, of South Kashmir’s Tral Payeen, who recently achieved a feat in his cricket career after being appointed the captain of Saltaire Cricket Club England, is a product of the same passion and zeal which rests upon the cricket.

Zahid, who started playing cricket for United XI Cricket Club Tral at a very young age, told ‘Kashmir Images’ that he has been very passionate about cricket since his childhood and his family has been very supportive to him. “I have played most of the cricket for United XI Cricket Club Tral. The management of the club always believed in me while giving me many opportunities to perform all across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Zahid adding that he has represented SRM University at All India University tournaments, RedBull Campus Cricket and at many other national level events.

Talking about his journey to Saltaire Cricket Club, Zahid said, “I came to England as a student in 2016 but was destined to play cricket alongside my studies. I was studying MSc Automotive Engineering from the University of Leeds and have passed my degree in September last year. Also, I have completed B.Tech Automobile Engineering from SRM University.”

Zahid has been associated with a cricket club in England which has seen the participation of international cricketers.  “I played for various clubs which includes six-times Bradford Premier League champions Pudsey Congs, where VVS Laxman and Rana Naveed Ul Hassan has played as overseas cricketers before me. Also, I played for Denby which plays in Huddersfield League. Currently, I am in contract with Saltaire Cricket Club which has appointed me their captain recently,” said Zahid adding that SRM has helped him to become a better cricketer as he was offered a sports scholarship by the SRM University Chennai during his B.Tech program.

Zahid further said that he had travelled to England on a student visa. “I came back to Kashmir in January this year as my visa expired. Currently, I am on a sports visa in England.”

About his future endeavours with regard to his career in cricket, Zahid said, “If I am given a chance to play for any international side, I will be more than happy to accept the offer. Currently, I am focusing on improving my game.”

When asked if he would like to play for the Indian cricket team, Zahid said, “I haven’t ruled out playing for India as well.”

In his message to the budding cricketers of Kashmir, Zahid said, “Fitness is the very important aspect of the game which includes both physical and mental. We have to have sound body and mind to play at the highest level.”

When informed by this reporter that people in Kashmir were celebrating his success, Zahid said, “It is good to see our people taking interest in the people who are making Kashmir proud.”

“Whatever I have achieved so far, I want to dedicate the same to Ali Mohammad Naik (Sher-E-Tral), he would have been happy seeing me achieving newer heights. He passed away last year,” said Zahid.

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