New Delhi: They had all been affected by the deadly floods in the valley last September but Jammu and Kashmir cricket captain Parveez Rasool feels that it is the "adversities" that have made their team "mentally strong" to beat a champion side like Mumbai.
"Our lives were affected during the floods. There was no practise facilities available and these are adverse situations. Let me tell you, we are the only state that will technically play eight away games instead of four home and four away. Tough situations make people tougher. That's exactly is the recipe of our success," Rasool told PTI in an exclusive interview.
"The boys knew one thing. We have seen devastation and this is just a cricket match! If we can come through that difficult phase, then why can't we beat Mumbai in Mumbai at the Wankhede," the confidence was palpable in Rasool's voice, something that has come with playing top level cricket for India, India A and being part of the Indian Premier League.
Although Sunil Joshi is the new coach, Rasool didn't forget to mention legendary Bishan Singh Bedi's contribution in Jammu and Kashmir's emergence as a promising cricket state.
"It was Bedi sir who told us that there is nothing called strong and weak on a cricket field. The upward graph of J&K cricket started with Bedi sir's arrival. Our quarter-final appearance in the Ranji Trophy last season, is a testimony that this victory is not a one-off thing. Even in Vijay Hazare we won t
"Woh kahte the ki tumhare pass balla hain unke paas gend hain. Agaar jaan lagake ke kheloge toh koi bhi team badi nahi hai chahe woh Mumbai ho yaa Delhi (You guys have a bat and opposition has a ball. If you put in your 100 percent, there are no big teams whether it's Mumbai or Delhi)," Rasool recalled Bedi's words of wisdom.
Rasool was particularly touched when chairman of national selectors Sandeep Patil called upto congratulate the team.
"Sandeep sir called up and congratulated the whole team for our victory. He is himself a Mumbai legend and it was a proud moment for all of us. A lot of people don't know that our team practised in the pre-season at the facilities of Vidarbha Cricket Association. But staying together in the pre-season helped in team bonding," said Rasool.
On a personal front, at 25, Rasool is a role model for
his teammates and the call-up in the 30-member probables list was another morale booster just before the Ranji match started.
"I got the news of my selection in the World Cup probables list just three days before the Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai. It added as an extra motivation. The boys look upto me and I am proud that they all did their best in executing the plans that we have had for Mumbai.
"Mumbai isn't just another cricket team. They are 40-time champions and we successfully challenged them," one could feel the sense of pride in Rasool's statement.
He wants focus on his own performances also as he would like to be in contention for a selection in the Indian squad for the tri-series tournament in Australia ahead of the World Cup.
"Who doesn't want to be a part of his country's team for the World Cup? But rather than thinking about the World Cup, I should focus on getting as many wickets and scoring as many runs as possible for J&K in the coming Ranji matches," concluded Rasool.