His average bowling speed was reported to be 125 kmph.
Nayeem Qadir Bhat was allegedly killed by Indian army in firing at his home town North Kashmir Handwara on Tuesday afternoon.
The 19 year old boy, lovingly named by his friends as ‘Naya’ was a talented cricketer of Kashmir who has played alongside Indian cricketers Suresh Raina and Pervez Rasool.
Bhat played cricket matches locally in Handwara town and was Captain of ‘Star 11 Handwara’ in 2013.
He was also associated with BCC red (Baramulla cricket club Red) at the beginning of his cricketing career in 2012.
One of his best friends, Nasir Nabi said that,“Nayeem was the only player from district who joined Baramulla premier League (BPL) and showed his talent aggressively. He was locally called as Martin Guptil of Kashmir”.
Nayeem played scores of matches at local and district level till 2015. After that he joined DCL (Downtown cricket league) in 2014, played with “Pride Riders” and was trained by Mubashir Hassan, Pride Riders cricket coach.
Nayeem was very talented and humble cricketer and an all-rounder right hand batsman and medium pace bowler. His average bowling speed was reported to be 125 kmph.
During August-September 2015 under-19 age group cricketers were shortlisted by JKCA (Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association) and Nayeem was in the list of 60 players to represent the state in Ranji Trophy. Nayeem joined the cricket camp of 25 days at JKCA Srinagar.
“He was a disciplined and dedicated cricketer. He used to play all day long during his practice session at the camp,”says Wajahat Majeed, under-19 cricket selector JKCA. He said that Nayeem used to travel every day from Handwara to Srinagar to attend the cricket camp at JKCA.
“It is a serious tragedy that we have lost a talented cricketer in Nayeem Qadir Bhat, he could have gone a long way In future” said another cricketer.
In May 2014, Bhat had joined Kashmir Gymkhana cricket club (blues) and had played five T20 match series in which his best score remained 85 and he also took six wickets in the series.
“I myself called him to join the league and play with one of the best teams in Kashmir. He was picked at the first sight, although till now Nayeem hasn’t taken the money because he was interested in playing cricket rather than money,’’ says Mubashir Hassan, Nayeem’s coach from DCL.
“He could have represented Jammu and Kashmir Ranji, in next one or two years,’’ says Manzoor Ahmad Dar, Nayeem’s club coach. In the cricket club he attended practice session of three days a week without a miss.
The under-19 national cricketer was killed in firing by Indian army in his home town where he used to play street cricket.
“His killing shocked me, it was a jolt to see news of youngster being killed back home, the more shocking was killing of cricketer”, said Indian cricketer Parvez Rasool.
Nayeem was not only best in cricket but in his academics as well. He passed class 12 exams in 2013 with 65 per cent grades and joined Handwara College next year. He was to leave for Dehradun on April 16 to join college to study physiotherapy.
Nayeem Passed is class 10 exams with 80 per cent marks and his 12th standard in 2013 with 65 per cent grades.
Feedback at [email protected]
The story first appeared in print edition of April 20.