Heavy snowfall in Kashmir means a majority of the Jammu and Kashmir players will not have the luxury of paying a short-visit home before they travel to Baroda to face Punjab in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy — only the second time the team has reached the knock-outs of the competition.
The inclement weather will force the team to travel from the north-east to Delhi, which will be their temporary base, before heading to the western region. The players are keen to switch off for a couple of days given that they endured some nail-biting moments before advancing to the quarterfinals.
At the end of Day Three of their last group game against Tripura in Agartala, the Jammu and Kashmir team shifted their focus to the result at Porvorim. Goa had beaten Andhra, which meant that J&K had to nose ahead on run quotient. The three points they were in line to gain put them on 28 while Goa’s addition of six points gave them the same tally. J&K skipper Parvez Rasool and his boys armed with pen, paper and calculator, set out to figure what they needed to do to pip Goa on run quotient.
“Wednesday evening was unusual for us because we were doing a lot of mathematics. We wanted to be sure that we knew what we had to do, depending on the match situation, to get ahead of Goa on quotient,” Rasool said on Thursday.
Rasool scalped six wickets on Day Four, to go with one on the previous day, to help bowl out Tripura for 272. However, the early loss of opener Adil Rishi and No.3 Ian Dev Singh saw another round of number crunching till J&K finished the day at 87 for two, a score that put them just .001 ahead of Goa in terms of the run quotient. Rasool, along with opener Bandeep Singh had the pleasure of seeing things through as the not out batsmen.
“This is huge relief because it was touch and go with regard to the quotient. We had worked really hard this season and it would have been heart-breaking if we failed to make the quarterfinals, everything would have gone back” Rasool said.
Starting from square one in J&K cricket could have completely undone all the positives of the 2013-14 season. This year, for the first time in many seasons, the Ranji squad