BUDGAM: At a time when youth in Kashmir are grappling with uncertainty and insecurity due to the prolonged conflict, a Budgam boy has made his way to play in the Under-19 Cricket Tournament in India.
Javid Ahmad Ganie, a resident of Kawoosa Khalisa in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, is a 12th class student in Boys Higher Secondary School, Magam.
Ganie, who plays for Kashmir Sonwar Cricket Club, told Kashmir Reader that he was elated to hear the news of his selection in the tournament.
“I am very happy for making my way in U-19 cricket tournament. This was my dream, and Alhamdulillah I have achieved it with the support of my club, coach and my school teachers and my family,” Ganie said.
Ganie’s achievement calls for all the more celebration as he comes from a below-poverty-line (BPL) family and his life started in great hardship. “I am the younger son of my parents, and my selection to the U-19 team has come after I travelled through a difficult journey,” he told Kashmir Reader.
“My father is a labourer, and my mother a housewife. My mother was unable to assist me financially, and my father, who could have assisted me, was very reluctant to help in shaping my career as a cricketer,” Ganie said.
He continued, “I have been playing cricket since childhood. I started when I was in primary level, a mere kid. With the passage of time, I figured out that I wanted to be a cricketer, but my father, Gh Qadir Ganie, was totally against this.”
“You should not waste your time in games, he would tell me. Instead concentrate on your studies and make your future bright. Who has became a star here who inspired you, he would ask,” Ganie said, quoting his father to end with the usual conclusion to family’s debates on the subject, ‘My advice is to stop this nonsense.’
“However, I continued to play and achieved this success today,” Ganie said.
“When my parents were refusing to hear me, it was my coach, Fayaz Ahmad, hailing from Narbal, Budgam, who helped me day in and day out in every aspect. He provided me a golden opportunity to progress and provided financial assistance as well,” he said, adding, “I am indebted to him.”
He admires the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja and has even adopted his nickname, ‘Jadu’. “I like the way he bowls and I too dream of playing with him,” he admitted.
Ganie added that he knew all too well that not many Kashmiri players have been able to make their way in the game because of the prevailing circumstances in the state. He believes that Kashmiris have good potential to produce great cricketers, but says the state and central governments need to assist them in choosing cricket as a career.
Ganie told Kashmir Reader that he has represented Kashmir eight times so far. “Three times, I represented Under-14 cricket team in 2014. After that, I have represented U-16 three times and two times U-19. So far, I have played in 15 states of India and have won many prizes for my best performance,” he said.
Affirming his dedication to the sport, Ganie said, “I have made it my final call to choose cricket as my profession and I am looking forward to play for the India team. That is my next dream.”