All-rounder Perveez Rassol became the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to bag an IPL contract, signing up with Pune Warriors for the 2013 season.
Rassol, who was a star performer for the Board President's XI by grabbing seven Australian wickets, was being chased by at least three franchises but the 24-year-old signed for the Sahara Pariwar owned franchise.
"A few franchises approached me but it was Pune who approached me first. So it was an ethical decision to join them as they had shown interest much before the Australia match happened. I am very excited and it is an honour to play in the IPL and become the first cricketer from the valley to achieve this feat," an excited Rassol told PTI over the phone from Bilaspur — where the Jammu and Kashmir squad is based for Vijay Hazare Trophy.
According to IPL sources, Kings XI Punjab were chasing Rassol given the Chandigarh based franchisee's proximity to Jammu and Kashmir.
Since Rassol is an uncapped player, he will be getting Rs 20 lakh as per IPL norms. "Perveez is an asset for us. He is a capable all-rounder and since we can have only four foreigners, his batting and off-break bowling makes him a good choice in the playing XI.
"Also the kind of exposure that he will be getting interacting with international cricketers will be phenomenal. Trust me, he can be a good player in the longer version too," a franchise official stated.
Rassol is excited that he will be getting a chance to share the dressing room with Australian captain Michael Clarke.
"It is a dream come true for me that I will be interacting with Michael Clarke. Also having Yuvi Paaji (Yuvraj Singh) will be a bonus. I have just started my journey in top-flight cricket and this stint with Pune will only help me grow. I hope that I will be able soak in all the information that I can get from our coach Allan Donald," he said.
On asked what this IPL contract meant for budding cricketers of his state, Rassol said, "I would like to convey a small message for all my well-wishers in Jammu and Kashmir.
"I would like to tell them that it was not only talent but hardwork that has helped me realise my dream. I believe, parents would now believe, that someone can make a decent career out of cricket even from our state."
His mentor Bishan Singh Bedi has never been a great supporter of IPL but Rassol said, "Bedi sir mujhse bahoot pyar karte hain (Bedi sir loves me a lot)."