When you talk about of the Indian-held state of Jammu & Kashmir, only comes the violence, domineer and desperation in mind; while Azad Jammu & Kashmir is considered as a one of the most progressive states. But in the cricketing sense, we can feel that scenario is reversed. Pervez Rasool a guy from Anantnag 45 Km away from Summer capital of the Valley. He is an ordinary player with good bowling stats and average batting skills. He went to Zimbabwe with Indian National team as first ever cricketer from the State of Jammu& Kashmir in 2013. But failed to make it to final eleven. It brought a lot of hard discussions among the valley and even Chief Minister Omer Abdullah also criticise Virat Kohli for not providing a chance to Pervez. But a year later Pervez got a chance to make it to the final eleven and created history to became first ever International cricketer from entire State of Jammu & Kashmir across the LOC. It was a historic day for Pervez and the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir.
While during 2006 and onwards Afaq Raheem a youngster from Mirpur the largest city of AJ&K, scored hundreds of runs during the domestic season. Afaq who picks Saeed Anwar and Sachin Tendulkar as his batting heroesis still considered technically most correct opening batsman in Pakistan. While his temperament is reflected by his stats. He has also played for Pak U-19 and A team but he was not given fair enough chance to represent Pakistan at International level. For morethan a couple of seasons, his average was above 50. His current first class average is 37 which was near 48 when he got injured. He still has a strike rate of 83 and average of 40 in List A while a strike rate of 125 and average of 26 in T20s. but our selectors. Umar Amin, Shan Masood, Khurram Manzoor and even likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Riffat UllahMaMohmand were not better in stats than Afaq Raheem. Afaq Raheem was not treated honestly when he was the at the peak of his career, then he got injured and lost the magic due to lack of care from PCB. But he worked hard to get the place in the domestic side. He was included in the national side for the Sri Lankan tour in 2012 but was not given a chance to play for Pakistan. During this phase, he played for Rotherham Town in the Oxford Yorkshire Premier League and performed brilliantly. He played with Ajmal Shehzad and Adil Rasheed both of them later on represented English National side. He is still working hard and is hopeful to represent Pakistan as he performed brilliantly during last year’s domestic T20; as he was top scorer among all openers but was not included in the draft of PSL due to unknown reasons. He has faced worst barbarism by Pakistan Cricket Board; not only Afaq but few others likes of Hassan Raza Junior (represented Pak-U19), Naqash Basharat (represented Pak-U15), Saad Altaf and Abdul Shakoor were neglected later on as they were among top most talented players despite they were from most deprived area which was not even a region before 2015.
While Pervez Rasool, on the other hand, has also received a lucrative contract of hundred lakh Indian rupees in IPL 2013 and still is a regular player in IPL as a part of RCB. But players here in AJK are without all these facilities which is not good for Pakistan Cricket. While Afaq Raheem is kept away from the draft of Pakistan Cup which is going to held in Faisalabad. Afaq is still best opener in the domestic circuit and has a vast experience of playing in English conditions as he has spent a lot of time in England while playing local leagues with other English Players. He also has brilliant command on The English Language to face the clever English media which every Pakistani Cricketer lacks, so it’s for the sake of Pakistan Cricket to utilize a utility cricketer like Afaq in upcoming English Summer. He can be an answer to Pakistan’s opening debacles. But before that PCB should think wisely and include him in Draft of Pakistan Cup.