J&K was always known for fast bowlers. But after Umran Malik made his way to the Indian team, the region’s pace bowlers finally came into focus. Almost all the IPL teams have started tracking down J&K’s fast-bowling talent and are utilising them in several ways.
In last IPL (2023), three fast bowlers (Umran Malik, Yudhvir Singh and Avinash Singh) were part of different IPL main squads and as many as 8 other pacers were serving as net bowlers.
Among these eight, Tahir Bhat, Waseem Bashir and Mujtaba Yousuf have been in the IPL teams’ plans for quite some time. Tahir served as a net bowler at Sunrisers Hyderabad during the last IPL and left the support staff impressed with his bowling.
Waseem Bashir is believed to be a 150kmph bowler and almost got an IPL contract before joining Lucknow Supergiants as a net bowler.
Mujtaba Yousuf has been around for a long time and fell short of an IPL contract quite a few times. He has served multiple teams as a net bowler, Chennai Super Kings being the latest.
However, despite IPL teams showing so much interest in these bowlers, they have completely been ignored by the state association- JKCA.
None of the three feature in J&K’s recent squad for the upcoming practice matches against Punjab. It is quite surprising that none of the three were included for a T20 event.
As most of this squad would be retained for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, it seems these three pacers might not find a place. It would be a huge setback for them since their good performances in Syed Mushtaq Ali would have added to their chances of getting picked in the IPL 2024 auction.
It remains a mystery how such fine pacers fail to impress JKCA’s selectors as their talent has been lauded at a higher level. Their exclusion also leaves a bad impression on IPL scouts who might wonder why their own state association doesn’t find them good enough.