Rasikh Salam becomes the second J&K cricketer to play IPL

When the Mumbai Indians named 17-year-old fast bowler Rasikh Salam in the final XI against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday, he became the second cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play the tournament after Parvez Rasool.

Last year, Manzoor Dar was picked by Kings XI Punjab, but he had to warm the bench throughout the tournament.

Salam is the youngest to debut for Mumbai Indians at 17 years and 353 days. The franchise’s director of cricket operations and former India pacer, Zaheer Khan handed the cap to the player.

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Hailing from Ashmuji village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, Salam came on the domestic cricket scene through district-level tournaments and then was spotted by Irfan Pathan, who is now a player-mentor for the Jammu and Kashmir Ranji Trophy team.

During the training camp with JK, Pathan made it a point to work with the youngster and that paid rich dividends. In the just-concluded domestic season, Salam featured in a couple of Ranji Trophy fixtures for his home state and picked up seven wickets. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament, he scalped five wickets in four outings.

And on Sunday, he surprised all by making into the final XI of the star-studded Mumbai Indians side and also opened the bowling, giving away just six runs in the first over and troubling Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw a bit.

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During the state team camp, Salam spent a lot of time with Pathan learning a thing or two about bowling and that seems to have helped. “I worked a bit on the technical part and hopefully he will be able to keep those things in mind,” Pathan had said before the IPL began.

Salam was spotted by the Mumbai Indians scout team during the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy and later he attended a couple of trial camps at the franchise’s facilities in Navi Mumbai. The franchise then roped him for Rs 20 lakh at the auctions in Jaipur in December last year.

On Sunday, it was a dream come true for Salam, who is also the only cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to feature in this year’s IPL!

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