When the BCCI tweeted the list of names on India's ODI squad for Zimbabwe on Friday, there was one name that caught the eye instantaneously - Parvez Rasool. After years of hard work under testing conditions in the tense Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) valley, the allrounder has become the first man to represent India in any format of the game.
Rasool, 24, has been named in the 15-member squad that will travel to Zimbabwe later this month for a five-match ODI series. But the journey wasn't an easy one - starting with the days when he used to hold his father Ghulam Rasool's finger to the grounds.
It was the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season that marked the start of all the right moves made by the offspinner who is a useful batsman and was introduced to cricket by his father. He later idolised Abdul Qayuum before putting his heart into cricket.
His 594 runs and 33 wickets in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season opened the Team India nets to him, and after impressing MS Dhoni & Co, Rasool got the ticket to Board President's XI squad against the visiting Australians. Figures of 7 for 45 in that game put him firmly in the eyes of Indian selectors, but before that, it was Sahara Pune Warriors India who knocked at his door with an IPL contract in hand.
A month before that, the allrounder was included in the 14-member India A squad to play in a warm-up one-day match against England in Delhi. The call-ups were rewards for his strong showing with both bat and ball in J&K's otherwise disappointing run in the last Ranji Trophy season. Though he got limited opportunities in the last edition of IPL, he made most of being with some of the game's greats in the Pune dressing room.
Rasool's mentor and coach at J&K, Bishan Singh Bedi, who reserves his praise only for the best, earlier in the year gave his offbreaks and useful batting 10 out of 10 for commitment, skill and talent. But when a few tried to use Rasool's rise to fame to gain political ground in the J&K, Rasool was quick to get his point across. "I don't want any politics in my game. I don't know how they bring politics into cricket. Insha Allah I will make it [to Team India]."
And now when he has actually made it happen, it's time to say, "Masha Allah!"