Kulgam: Two female cricketers from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district have set the doors open for aspiring female cricketers of Kashmir region after being selected for the Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) tournaments.
Zeenat Ramzan (21) from Qaimoh Tehsil in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district has been selected for the Senior Women’s tournament while Khushbo Aftaab (18) from Yaripora, Kulgam has been selected for U-19 Women’s Trophy.
The 21-year-old, Zeenat has been a passionate cricketer since her childhood and says her dream of becoming a cricketer started with gully cricket after which she won several awards in women cricket for her Higher Secondary she studied at.
Speaking to a local news gathering agency, Zeenat said: “I have played for my school (Government Higher Secondary School, Qaimoh) and won the series for it.” She was awarded women of the tournament for the inter-college series which was played between the Kashmir districts.”
She said that she also played a key role in the Chinar Women’s Cricket League-2022 (3rd edition).
Though Zeenat is not a cricketer alone, she is managing her studies as well. She is a student of Government Degree College for Women in Anantnag. “But my true passion lies in cricket and it is such that I dodged my exams and went to the JKCA trials last year,” she said.
Khushboo Aftab (18), who is a resident of Yaripora in Kulgam, since she was very young, dreamed of representing Jammu Kashmir in cricket at the highest level.
Khushboo who has been selected for the U-19 squad by JKCA yet again has been a part of the women’s Under-19 cricket for the past three seasons.
“When I was very young, I could not hold a cricket bat properly. But I always wanted to be a cricketer. The kind support I have received from my family and teachers came handy in the beginning. My school was my first training ground,” she said.
Khushboo has been performing extremely well. In the recent talent hunt cup, she amassed 82 runs and also bagged two wickets in a match. Her performance guided her team to a convincing win and gave her confidence a much needed boost.
“When the bouncer comes at you, you leave it or hook or pull or cut it, but you do not have to let it hit you. This is how we as women sports persons approach the stereotypical mind-set,” she said.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kulgam, Dr.Bilal Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat said that more than 200 playfields are being constructed through Janbhagidari one Panchayat one playfield program, in which all panchayats of the south Kashmir district are covered.
“Sports are important for engaging youth for nation building. District administration has been forefront to support sports through infrastructure development like playfields and equipment/gears,” he said.
To make it more inclusive special focus is given to engage girls in providing platforms to display their sports acumen by organising tournaments through youth services and sports. PRIs (Panchayats, BDC, DDC) has played pivotal role in realising the full potential of sports in Kulgam through youth engagement especially through Youth clubs. (KNO)