SRINAGAR: With the advent of the summer season, the cricket enthusiasts in Kashmir have no hope of the revival of cricketing fervor in Srinagar, thanks to the official apathy regarding the outdoor sports. Even the intended sponsors of the cricketing events are discouraged by the lack of infrastructure.
Sheikh Ashiq, a leading businessman who owned a tournament christened as Downtown Cricket League (DCL) in 2013 said that youngsters in Kashmir were crazy about cricket but their enthusiasm is always marred by the official apathy towards the game. The DCL created a buzz in the city and thousands of people and players were engaged in the event.
“I sponsored the cricketing event to appreciate the interest of common people with the game. But, ironically, successive governments failed to provide a befitting infrastructure for the players,” Ashiq said.
“Our players are constrained to play on mats because we don’t have turf pitches,” he said.
The cricketers say that Kashmir reserves tremendous potential to produce talented cricketers like Parevez Rasool who almost made it to the Indian national cricket team. However, they complain that lack of infrastructure was the main hurdle in promotion of cricket in the Valley.
“We have only two playgrounds in the entire state. We don’t have proper pitches to play on,” said cricketer Umar Nazir who is playing for Amateur Cricket Club (ACC).
Owais Shah, another budding cricketer complained of proper training center selection process for all local aspiring players.
“Schools and colleges should focus on training of sports and sharpen the hidden talent of the youth,” Owais said.
Chief Executive for DCL Naseer Ahmad urged the government to come up with a mega sports development programme in Kashmir.