Wahid Bhat| Srinagar
India and Pakistan cricket are also the center of discussion in Kashmir Valley. It is said about Kashmir that Indo-Pak tension did not allow cricket to flourish here.
There is a Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar, but only two international matches have been played here. Knowledgeable, if there is no opposition to cricket in the name of Indo-Pak here, then such situation does not stand today.
Regular cricket matches get people jobs Interest in local youth cricket increased and they could make names in the world. However, know why this does not happen.
The first international match at this stadium was played on October 13, 1983 between India and the West Indies. India batted first but during the lunch break the Kashmiris protested and they sacked the pitch by making slogans of Pakistan Zindabad.
However, the game was played after this. India gave the target of 177 runs West Indies scored 108 runs without any loss in 22.4 overs, after which rain stopped the match. When the situation improved, West Indies got 81 runs in 22 overs, which they had already achieved. Desmond Haynes, who scored an unbeaten 55, was adjudged man of the match.
The second match was held on September 9, 1986 between India and Australia. Bharat batted first and scored 52 off 56 balls for Sunil Gavaskar, scoring 222 for 8 wickets. In reply, Australia achieved the target of remaining three balls with six balls remaining.
After this, the stadium remained the site of CRPAP till 18th. Terrorism marks in the valley can be seen here clearly. The windows of the stadium have been riddled with bullets. Now there are political rallies.
Protest October 13, 1983
The 12 men were arrested on 13 October 1983 at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar after dozens of people invaded the ground during the lunch break and damaged the pitch.
It was not severe enough to halt the game, which the West Indies won by 28 runs.
The men were freed on bail in 1984, with some even joining the subsequent insurgency against Indian rule. Charges were filed in 1989.
One of those charged was Showket Bakshi. He told Agence France-Presse after the ruling: “All of us have been acquitted as the prosecution failed to produce any evidence against us.”
He was jailed in 1990 on charges relating to the insurgency and said that during his 12 years behind bars he did not appear in court once to face charges over the cricket pitch.
Bakshi told the Press Trust of India that “police randomly arrested people including a man who was supporting the Indian cricket team”.
Another of those acquitted, leading separatist Shabir Shah, said: “I am happy to be acquitted but this also highlights the system of justice. They kept this case lingering for 22 years and it was used by state authorities to deny us basic rights such as travelling abroad.”
The staging of the 1983 event was controversial and vehemently opposed by those struggling against Indian rule.
The crowd cheered the runs scored and wickets taken by the West Indies.
One of those at the game, Mubarak Ahmad, said: “Soon after the match started, spectators threw broken bottles, stones and trash at the Indian team. It was a free for all.”
District and Sessions judge, Kaneez Fatima, one of dozens of judges who have presided over the case, on Monday finally acquitted the accused for a lack of evidence.
Defence counsel Mir Urfi said the list of accused was 21, and the fate of the remaining nine was not yet known.
Unfortunate Cricket History
The venue has hosted two ODI matches. In the first match India played West Indies on 13 October 1983. India batted first, but the match was affected due to the protests by Kashmiris digging the pitch during the lunch interval. When the match resumed, rain and dust storms affected the play, and India scored 176 all out. West Indies scored 108 for no loss in 22.4 overs before rain ended play, and West Indies were declared winners as the revised target was 81 in 22 overs. Desmond Haynes (West Indies), who scored 55 not out, was named Man of the Match.
In the second match India took on Australia on 9 September 1986.
India batted first, and a superb 52 off 56 balls by Sunil Gavaskar helped India score 222 for 8. In reply Australia achieved the target with 3 wickets in hand and 6 balls to go. Allan Border scored 90 not out off 106 balls and was named Man of the Match. Spectators cheered India’s defeat with cries of Pakistan Zindabad.
After all the oppressing attitude of Kashmiri Public, BCCI fixed a match between India and New Zealand at Jammu in 1988. The match was expected to be a game changer but this time Nature played its part. The match was washed away due to rain.
J&K to get IPL team, host matches
Few months ago Jammu and Kashmir’s Governor, Satya Pal Malik said that J&K will form its own IPL team and host matches to boost cricket talent in the state.
“I got emotional while listening to Manzoor and to know how many hardships he had to face while carrying his dream of playing cricket forward. Even recently I met IPL Chairman, Rajiv Shukla and he told me about Manzoor and his passion for the game,” Malik told during the event.
“While listening to Manzoor, I spoke with Chief Secretary and we have decided to form J&K’s own IPL team. We will also conduct matches of IPL in the State that will give boost to the cricket talent in the State,” he added.
Being a trouble-hit state, Jammu and Kashmir haven’t been able to produce many top-level cricketers apart from few like Parvez Rasool and Manzoor Dar.
The state also has just two reputed cricket stadiums, one in Srinagar and other in Jammu. The former has held two international matches way back in the 80s’ and due to several setbacks, the stadium has failed to host even the inter-state matches from past few years.
Nonetheless, if this goes through, a lot of budding talent might emerge from the place. As recently a U-19 player, Qamran Iqbal stood tall for India ‘B’ by playing back-to-back match-winning knocks in the ongoing Quadrangular U-19 One-day tourney.