If you ask cricket scouts of Kashmir who is the young cricketer they think can take J&K cricket forward, they all have one name to offer. All of them agree that he is the one who needs a proper grooming, for he is laced with required tools to make it big. Haziq Bhat-a 19-year old left-handed batsman from North Kashmirs Sopore town has impressed one and all with his skill level and work ethics, making him fit for one for the future tag. During his brief career, he scored runs on all kinds of surfaces for various J&K age-group teams to earn praise from his coaches, none as vociferous as Mubashir Hassan-the J&K U-19 coach.
Mubashir, one of the very few BCCI licensed coaches going around, is clearly impressed with what he has seen of his young ward thus far.
Most young cricketers are in awe of T-20 cricket these days, but Haziq is a different breed. He is fit for longer format of the game to go with his amazing skill level in limited overs cricket. He is an ocean of patience and knows his game inside out even at this young age. He has a thinking head on his shoulder which makes him a captaincy material, says Mubashir who watched Haziq from close quarters during his stint as J&K U-19 coach last season.
U-19 cricket is where Haziq made his presence felt scoring a mountain of runs for the J&K side to emerge as the highest scorer for his team this season. He had returns of 430 runs from 9 innings.
I have been playing U-19 cricket for last three years. This season I was made captain which boosted my confidence big time. I wanted to lead from the front and for that I needed to score runs which I eventually did. It was a good season for me overall, says Haziq whose confidence while talking is certainly shadow of what he exudes with willow in the hand.
Haziqs good show with the bat earned him a call-up for North-Zone camp where he was lucky enough to meet the likes of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh who were busy with their IPL duties.
Haziq acknowledges support from his coaches over the years.
Mubashir sir and Manzoor Dar have helped me a lot to fine-tune my skills over the years, says Haziq who bats in the middle order.
The real support, he says, has come from the family-his father in particular.
My father has been a pillar of strength and he has never inhibited me from expressing my dreams to become a cricketer. I wouldnt have reached this far had he not helped me. In Sopore my coaches Mohammad Yousuf Gubroo and Arif Bashir have also helped me a great deal in shaping up my career, says Haziq.
The making of Haziq the cricketer was scripted in a local higher secondary school playground which is at a stone throw distance from his home.
Since my childhood I have practiced there and continue to do so. Although the ground isnt in a good shape but I have learned my tricks from there, says Haziq.
The left hander plies his trade for Sopore Sports Club locally and is contracted with Kashmir Gymkhana, Srinagar-one of the premier clubs in the city.
Haziq has a penchant for a cut and drive and likes to unfurl slog sweep when in need of upping the ante. He idolizes Indian middle order batsman Suresh Raina, both in batting, bowling (off-spin) and fielding.
Mubashir reckons Haziq is one of the better fielders in Kashmir at the minute which adds to his CV.
As is the case with many young players in Kashmir, Haziq is in close touch with star all-rounder Parvez Rasool.
Haziq is quite particular on keeping himself fit-a vital ingredient of any modern cricketer. He has a fitness regime which is being followed religiously.
In morning I go for conditioning and gym and in the evening I work on my batting and fielding. I am very keen to keep myself fit as it is as important a department as is batting or bowling, says Haziq.
It wouldnt be long before Haziq breaks into the senior J&K side if he continues to work harder and perform well before he realises his ultimate dream. I want to play for India. I will give it my best shot.
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