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Kashmir Families Await Calls As Sons Win Disability World Series

The Hussain family from Sopore and Iqbal household in Anantnag are eagerly waiting for their phones to buzz.

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The Hussain family from Sopore and the Iqbal household in Kashmir's Anantnag are eagerly waiting for their cell phones to buzz.

It's been 11 days since 20-year-old Amir Hussain Rather and 25-year-old Wasim Iqbal last spoke to their folks back home.

The two are part of the Indian team that won the inaugural edition of the Physical Disability World Series Cricket beating hosts England in the final in Worcester on Tuesday, 13 August.

It was the best day of their lives but it's the well being of their families that's occupying Amir and Wasim's mindspace as communication (telephone and internet) channels have been cut off since revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August.

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"This is the first time I have not been able to wish my parents on Eid. I have been away from home for 45 days as we had a camp in Shirgaon in Maharashtra. Last 10 days, I have had no contact with my family. I am very happy but a bit worried till I get to speak to them," Amir, a left-arm bowler, told PTI over telephone from United Kingdom.

A 12th standard student, Amir's right hand was permanently damaged in an accident.

"This tournament has been a memorable one for me. I got six wickets in all but the best part was that I was economical (save final where he went for 22 in 2 overs) in a few games where I gave less than 10 runs in four overs," Amir said.

For Wasim, it's all about returning home and hugging his parents.

“Dil toh wahi pada huya hain (My heart is there in Kashmir).”
Wasim Iqbal

"I am hoping that they are doing fine. We are expected to return on 17 September. I have never been so eager to return home," said Wasim, who hit 75 off 43 balls against arch-rivals Pakistan in one of the games.

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The general secretary of the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged, Ravi Chauhan, called Amir the most talented bowler in their current set-up.

"He is a very talented boy. If he gets proper guidance, then he will play for the national team for a long time," Chauhan said, hoping that very soon their association will merge with the BCCI as per the Lodha constitution.

Both Wasim and Amir are indebted to Parveez Rasool, the only cricketer from the valley to play international cricket and an icon in that part of India.

"Rasool sir has been a big inspiration for both of us," Amir and Wasim said in unison.

"He not only gave us valuable tips on how to train but also helped us with equipments. We can't thank him enough for his role in our growth. He is and will always remain a role model for all cricketers coming from Kashmir," Wasim said.

Both men have some striking similarities. Both hail from middle-class families – their fathers have orchards, multiple siblings and a very supportive set-up.

"Our parents want us to do well and concentrate on cricket. Now we don't want to look back," said Amir.

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Chauhan, who has worked tirelessly to string up a good team, got a couple of private sponsors.

"We had ACC Cements and Anil Joglekar of CS InfoComm for helping us with funds for this tournament. As we have been successful in this tournament, I also remember the late Ajit Wadekar, who was an inspiration and guiding light behind the promotion of cricket for the physically challenged," Chauhan said.

He also thanked BCCI GM (Administration) Saba Karim and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) for their support in participating in this tournament.

"Saba Karim attended a meeting in Goa where he gave us valuable guidance. ECB's head of Disability Cricket Ian Martin, former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni have also helped a lot," said Chauhan, who himself represented the country as a physically challenged cricketer.

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Topics:  Indian Cricket 

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