Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:45:00 GMT | By Saket Parekar, India Syndicate
Cricket in Kashmir: Batting in the battered valley

Armed with the wooden weapon

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When was the last time you heard something good and positive about Kashmir? Death, violence, attacks and protests have become synonymous with this region riddled with problems. The never-ending dispute between India and Pakistan, the political imbalance and a constant military presence have made life difficult for the locals. Fear and depression have become their constant companions. Violence is always looming and an air of melancholy is eternally spread over the valley.

But while fear tends to confine the Kashmiris to their homes, cricket vows to bring them back. In the cold, deserted streets of the battered valley, cricket is raising hope for a better future. As the divisive forces try to burn the valley and gunmen guard the streets, the Kashmiri kids armed with bats and balls bring in a ray of hope.

Kashmir’s young generation has found a new hero in Parvez Rasool, who recently became the first man from the state to be called up to the national squad. Aside from bringing pride and excitement to the people, the selection of Rasool has rejuvenated the passion and love for cricket in the state.

Just like an India-Pakistan match makes the fans forget the political tensions between the two neighbours, watching Kashmiri kids playing cricket against a war-torn background gives you a sense of positivity and excitement. It reminds you that cricket resides in each and every one of us. It assures you that cricket can indeed unite us. It gives you hope that cricket will set us free and perhaps one day peace will prevail in our beloved valley.