‘Breaking the glass ceiling’ is not just a phrase but it also implies breaking the barriers and moving out of your comfort zone. It takes lots of efforts and courage to step outside the certain norms that have been set by society, especially for women, to follow their dreams.
One such Ideal example is of Roopali Slathia, first woman cricket coach of Jammu & Kashmir who has completed the level- B course organized by BCCI. A co-author of the book ‘Rising spell in Women’s Cricket’ and a doctorate in Philosophy, Slathia is coming with flying colors in every field.
Though we can’t ignore the fact it is definitely not easy for a girl with the cricket bat in her hand and moves out alone. But if you have a supportive father like hers, who always encourage chasing your ambitions, what else do you need?! Sports directly or indirectly help you to grow as a person, teach you proper discipline, freedom of expression and increase your self-esteem. It takes a lot of guts for a female to choose sports as a career option due to the stereotype associated with it.
Roopali, at the age of 14, started playing cricket in 1996, the time when the concept of Women Cricket was not that popular. But she has already made her mind and was ready to take all the challenges that come with Not-So-traditional career choices. In the early stage of her career, facilities like the infrastructure, playing grounds and coaching were not up to the mark. There were hardly two centers at that time. But slowly things improved, post her selection for the sub-junior national game. She joined NIS Cricket Academy and completed her diploma in Sports Coaching in 2006. She played till 2010. In her 15 years long career, she got selected twice for the India camp; also she had played a number of zonal matches. One of the biggest achievement was her 10 years of Captaincy for the Jammu and Kashmir team.
Then she decided to step into professional coaching in 2011, she wanted to help the youth of the Kashmir and guide them through the way. She started working with Jammu and Kashmir cricket association with the ultimate goal is to take the team to a certain level where the entire country will be proud. She emerged as a catalyst for many youngsters and truly an inspiration for all who dream big. When asked what is cricket for you, she replied, “Cricket, for me, is oxygen. When I enter the cricket field my energy doubles.” She also believes that the love for the sport sooner or later will get you the results. You just need to get out your comfort zone to make that dream turn into reality.
Our Kashmir is undoubtedly the land of talent and people are promoting the youth of the Valley. They are making our country proud in every way and in every field possible. On the way to success, there are a lot of ups and downs, but giving up is never the option.
One game that most of us have played during our childhood has to be Gully-Cricket or Bat-Ball, (how we used to define it). Do you remember the times when in the arms of nature, sun-kissed trees and snow peaked mountains, everything that was flat and long became a bat and everything round became a ball? Well, you feel me my friend. We all have to agree that Cricket is a game which is not just played but celebrated in our country. Although most of us enjoy watching and playing the game, this is hard fact that a very few have made to fame in this field. Let’s not leave behind the names who have marked their presence in the fame and have made Jammu and Kashmir proud.
Cricket in Jammu and Kashmir
The Cricket team of the state participated first in 1959-60 in Ranji Trophy and it was in 1970 that Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) was formed. Since then, our players like Parvez Rasool, who is the present captain of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket team and an all-rounder cricketer Indian Cricket Team since 2014; Mithun Manhas, who has consistently been an all-rounder cricketer of the state, played in IPL and is now the assistant coach of Indian Premier League side Kings XI Punjab; Abid Nazi, who is considered as one of the fastest bowlers in India; etc., have inspired our youth to participate more openly and wilfully in the game.
Contribution of our Coaches
In the success stories of these players, our coaches and mentors of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket team remain a constant source of fuelling the spirit of our cricketers. Young or old, every player buds under a right coach and his visionary guidance. Sunil Joshi, an Indian cricketer and coach, who has been coaching Jammu and Kashmir cricket team since 2014, is a game changer for cricket in Kashmir. The team has tasted many victories under his guidance, the earliest of them was beating the Ranji giants- “Mumbai cricket team”, in the prelim rounds of Ranji Trophy in 2014/15.
Kudos to Irfan Pathan
Recently, Irfan Pathan was appointed as the mentor cum coach of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket team. The all-rounder cricketer of Indian National team has since then inspired and helped our players sense an overall development in the game. While devoting his time to the Senior Cricket Team, he did not forget to involve with the young cricketers of the state. In June and July, he went on a selection spree of young cricketers in Kashmir and Jammu respectively. With his constant mentoring and regular support of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association our fresh players have begun to make histories at higher level.
New Buds in The Field
Manzoor Dar is the only selected player from Jammu and Kashmir who played in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) . He has been selected by Kings XI Punjab for his hard-hitting batsmanship.
Umar Nazir, one of the fastest bowlers of Jammu and Kashmir, has been included in the India-C squad for Deodhar Trophy tournament.
The success stories of Dar & Nazir are apt examples of how right guidance, hard- work, passion and the spirit of sport can change lives. The influential people of Jammu and Kashmir did not forget to congratulate our new achievers for their success:
Bandipora, usually in news for all the wrong reasons, is in the limelight: a nondescript and remote village called Shigan Pora in this Kashmir district is celebrating the selection of 24-year-old Manzoor Dar, to the prestigious (IPL). https://t.co/kEZzikwQCX
— Waheed Para (@parawahid) 31 January 2018
Some good news coming for JAMMU KASHMIR cricket.J&k’s Umar Nazir;the tall fast bowler got slected for Deodhar trophy & another young fast bowler Rasikh salam just had a trial for Mumbai Indians where he impressed them all with his bowling skills #goodtimes #goodnews
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) 18 October 2018
The continuous efforts of the JKCA to instil the spirit of sports in the youth has turned out to be a blessing for our new generation, especially our budding cricket aspirants. All of us are thankful to the contributions of BCCI and Mentor Irfan Khan’s efforts. The evident growth of our players gives us a vision of higher pedestal in cricket for all our aspiring cricketers in future.