ipl 2018 :From Night watchman’s big test in IPL T20, Kashmir’s Manzoor Dar living his dream
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From Night watchman’s big test in IPL T20, Kashmir’s Manzoor Dar living his dream

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 ipl 2018 :From Night watchman’s big test in IPL T20, Kashmir’s Manzoor Dar living his dream

When Kings XI Punjab picked him up for Rs 20 lakh in the auction, all-rounder Manzoor Dar became only the second Kashmiri cricketer after Parvez Rasool to make it to the Indian Premier League (IPL). This also ends his long innings as a night watchman.The 24-year-old told TOI “IPL selection was a dream come true”. “But the journey has just begun,” he said. “I want to use IPL as a platform to break into the Indian team.” Son of a labourer and eldest of four brothers and four sisters, Dar has worked as a woodcutter and a security guard to feed the family

The 24-year-old told TOI “IPL selection was a dream come true”. “But the journey has just begun,” he said. “I want to use IPL as a platform to break into the Indian team.” Son of a labourer and eldest of four brothers and four sisters, Dar has worked as a woodcutter and a security guard to feed the family.“I started earning at 8,” recalls Manzoor Dar. “To send all the siblings to school was my duty as the eldest child. The IPL contract, I hope, will end our hardship.” The Class-XII dropout from Suganpora village in Sumbal area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district is popular there for his athleticism. “In front of my house, there is a ground where no one but I used to play,” he said. “People called me ‘awaara’ (vagabond) then. But when I returned to my village after the auction, I found 100-odd children playing cricket at the place. I couldn’t control my emotions.”

Along with concentrating on my game, I had to also work hard to look after my family amid challenging circumstances. I had to leave my studies midway and support my father,” says an emotional Dar.The 6-foot-2-inch middle-order batsman and part-time off spinner is enjoying the biggest phase of his cricketing career and looking forward to sharing the dressing room with the swashbuckling Chris Gayle, audacious Yuvraj Singh, and brute force David Miller. “It is going to be a great learning opportunity. If I get a chance to play, my goal will be to lead my team to the victory,” said the finisher.

Dar made his J&K debut last year, in the North Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, and hasn’t looked back. He has played nine T20s with a strike rate of 145 plus.It was not until 2011 that he started taking cricket as a serious career option. “That was the first time I participated in trials for the state team,” he said. “My debut had to wait another six years.” Dar has turned out in nine T20 and four List-A matches since his maiden appearance for the state in January last year.

Dar says his cricketing journey began when he got a chance to play for a local team and ended up scoring a century studded with eight sixes. “Following this, I was picked by another team that used to play in Srinagar.”

For his first match in Srinagar, Dar says, “I did not have a pair of shoes. I couldn’t afford.” He adds with a smile, “I could have borrowed a pair from my teammates, but my feet are so large.

“My family has faced lot of difficulties. At times we had to sleep without proper food,” Dar said with a lump in his throat, explaining how he once made his siblings eat apples instead of a proper dinner.

I am telling you just 10 % of the difficulties we have faced,” says Dar, this time breaking down. He started working as a security guard in the night, concentrating on his game during the day. This was “a life-changing decision” as it took care of his family and gave him time to pursue his passion by playing for local clubs that would also pay him occasionally.

“Had it not been for this, I wouldn’t have reached anywhere near what I am today,” he says.

The difficult days are over and his family is better off, Dar adds.

“At one point, we couldn’t afford pen for my sisters. Shukur khuda ka! Meri behne abhi bhi pad rahi hai (Thanks to the Almighty, my sisters are also studying),” he says. One sister has graduated, another is in the second year of graduation and his younger sisters are also studying.

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For Dar also it’s back to studies after a gap of some years. He recently appeared for the Class 12 board exams before joining Kings XI Punjab’s preparatory camp in Mohali. “I did well. I am hopeful of a positive result,” he says.

Dar says his next target is to successfully execute MS Dhoni’s famous ‘helicopter shot’. “I’ve been practising it for two years. Inshallah, you will get to see it soon

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