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Irfan Pathan Reveals How Rasikh Salam Bounced Back After 2-Year Ban

Rashik Salam was banned by the BCCI for two years.

Rasikh Salam was at his lowest, in June 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir seamer was handed a two-year ban by the BCCI for age fraud “following a discrepancy – submission of faulty birth certificate to BCCI”.

This was just soon after he had won the IPL title with Mumbai Indians – Rashik Salam had made his IPL debut then playing in one game – and was preparing for the under-19 tri-series in England. But then was banned by the board.

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On Wednesday night, April 6th 2022, Rashik Salam made his return – playing for KKR in IPL 2022 against his former team, MI. Salam had made his List-A debut for J&K in October 2018 and played his maiden first-class match in January 2019.

rasikh salam

A big help to him came in the form of Irfan Pathan, who had joined the J&K side in 2018 as a mentor. During one of the talent hunt camps in Srinagar, Salam’s swinger bowling impressed Pathan.

“He is an outstanding talent. He can bowl an outstanding slow one, can swing it both ways, and he will get quicker the more he plays. He can bat well at No. 8, so I am hoping that things will only get better from hereon,” Pathan told Sportstar.

During his ban, Mumbai Indians took care of him; Rashik Salam often came to Mumbai to work on his bowling and fitness.

“After the ban, it was a difficult phase for him. But he did not lose hope. For a youngster, it was very difficult to not play cricket for two years, but all credit to him for the way he managed it all. No matter how much cricket he plays, MI’s contribution will always be there with him.

“He used all the facilities for two years because they saw a great future in him. Now, he is playing for KKR, but these two years were difficult. He kept working hard, kept himself busy and now he is reaping the benefits,” the former all-rounder added.

Rasikh Salam

The pacer’s cousin, Nadeem Dar, who is also a local cricketer, recalled that people would doubt whether Rashik Salam will once again return to high-level cricket. But the cricketer worked hard on his bowling and fitness during his time away from the cricket field and made a successful comeback in the IPL.

“It was a very tough phase for him. When he returned home to Kulgam, many people felt that it would not be possible for him to bounce back. It was incredibly difficult. For an athlete, who had just started his career, it was very difficult to phase all that, but his family was very supportive.

“After playing in the IPL, he had gained that experience, so there would be times when Rasikh would even guide me with gym sessions. Both of us enjoyed those sessions. A lot of people said that bahot mushkil hoga comeback karna (it would be very difficult to make a comeback), but none of us paid heed to those things. We knew that he has age on his side, and he is a tagda (strongbowler, who has the potential to play for India,” Nadeem added.

Jatin Khandelwal

Hi, I am Jatin Khandelwal. Cricket writing came accidentally for me with an undergrad engineering degree. With opportunities first as a freelancer and then full-time, and experience with time, I have grown in the role. The Cricket Lounge is a place where I can thrive with the best of my abilities.

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