The entire cricket fraternity has time and again celebrated the rags to riches stories, right from India’s first small-town hero Kapil Dev to the modern day revolutionary MS Dhoni.
Not many would have dared to even dream as big as a certain security guard from Jammu & Kashmir. Manzoor Ahmed Dar, 6-foot-2-inch, also known as ‘Pandav’, has become the only player from the state to claim a contract in the Indian Premier League this year.
It is to be noted that his fellow Kashmiris, Parvez Rasool and fast bowler Umar Nazir, went unsold.
Congratulations & all the best for the tournament. Look forward to watching you play. https://t.co/XP3OxM0I3p
Son of a small-time labourer, Dar always dreamt of playing cricket at the highest level. He had to drop out of the school and work as a woodcutter and as a security guard to feed his eight brothers and four sisters. “I had to support the family and ensure that all the siblings went to school, and at the same time play cricket and focus on my skills,” Dar said. “I hope to end our hardships now.”
Dar started taking the sport seriously at the age of 10 in the North Kashmir’s Sumbal town only before unleashing his ability to hit big sixes. His carnage in the local matches earned him the tag of “sixer man”. he made his debut for Jammu and Kashmir in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in February 2017. “I always played the short format of the game. I wanted to play at the national level and for the IPL but never thought it will happen so soon,” he said. Apart from playing cricket and serving as a security guard, Dar has also been a carpenter, a weightlifter and a Kabaddi Player. He would often work at a Srinagar automobile showroom at night and play cricket matches in the mornings.
What a wonderful feeling it must be for Manzoor Dar to watch the celebrations.If instead of a gun,the youth pick up a bat,if instead of stones,the youth pick up a ball,the atmosphere in Kashmir will become beautiful.They need to be encouraged to play a sport & govt should support https://t.co/BppeduLPye
A year later, the Kings XI Punjab picked the hard hitter in the recently concluded auction for INR 20 Lakh. The entire family was glued to the television on Sunday afternoon. “I was in Jammu for trials when I was selected for the IPL. I called up my mother. She began crying,” the cricketer said.
Indeed! What a special moment it would have been, not only for the family but the entire village who saw a talented young lad living in the shadows of despondency thrive amidst adversity. “Our village has no playground, but that did not deter my son,” said father Mukhtar Ahmad Dar. “Manzoor worked very hard for this. We could hardly provide him any financial support ever,” exclaimed his overwhelmed mother.