BUDGAM: The two players from Kashmir who will take on Bangladesh as part of the Indian team in a cricket series that starts today, represent perfectly the triumph of the spirit over the challenges of the body.
Nayeem Ahmad Malla, 24, and Farooz Ahmad Ganie, 30, became familiar with loss and hardship early in their lives. Nayeem met with two different accidents in his childhood which rendered him physically disabled. When he was in Class 4, Nayeem was helping his family with cutting down trees when he suffered a serious injury in his back after he got trapped between a tractor and a walnut tree. Three years later, when he was in Class 7, he suffered injuries in his hand while helping a man whose vehicle was stuck in mud. He lost one finger of his right hand, on the basis of which he was later given a disability certificate by the government.
Farooz was studying in the final year of his undergraduate course at Government Degree College Anantnag when he lost his father in the month of March 2014. Just a few months after, devastating flood hit Kashmir valley and damaged his house. The worst was still to come, however. In the same year he met with a road accident that left him unable to walk properly. On the basis of this injury he acquired a disability certificate from the government and started playing cricket with the local teams in his village.
Nayeem told Kashmir Reader that when he became disabled in the year 2007, he started thinking that he would not be able to do anything in his life. “But today the reality seems like a dream: we are going to play international cricket,” he said.
Nayeem also said that people who are losing hope in their life need to buckle up and face the challenges. “They will learn lessons from these challenges,” he said, “and they will find success at some stage of life.”
Farooz told Kashmir Reader that the sudden death of his father left him in shock. “I was not able to focus on my studies at college. My father had been an important part of my academic career till the college level,” he said.
Farooz also suffered damages to his house when floods hit Kashmir Valley in 2014. “In the month of October 2014, I met with an accident. I was travelling with a friend on a bicycle when a vehicle hit the bicycle from behind. I suffered serious injury in my leg. I was not able to walk properly for two years, and I became permanently disabled,” he said.
“After that I received my disability certificate and started playing cricket with local teams in my village. I also got the opportunity to play cricket tournaments with disability cricket teams,” he said.
Farooz said that father and mother are the two pillars that hold up a person’s life. “Whenever one pillar gets broken, life suddenly becomes full of challenges. But we need to find answers to these challenges and automatically life becomes meaningful,” he said.
Nayeem informed that the series against Bangladesh starts from October 26. “We are going to play three one-day matches (ODIs) at MGM Aurangabad. Then we will play a Test match for four days at Hyderabad that will start from November 2. After that are three T-20 matches at Hyderabad on November 7, 8, and 9.”
The Indian team of which Nayeem and Farooz are part has been selected by the Board of Disabled Cricket Association (BDCA) India.
Nayeem, son of Abdul Aziz Malla, is a resident of Aarath village in Budgam district, while Farooz, son of the late Abdul Gani Ganie, is a resident of Check Punchero village in Bijbehara area of Anantang district.