“Hope I get to meet him one day and get a jersey with his name. Well done for inspiring millions who are passionate about playing the sport,” Sachin wrote in a post on X recently after learning about Amir’s incredible feats on the field that include bowling with his feet and batting by placing the bat between his shoulder and neck.
Sachin isn’t the only icon to have taken note of Amir, who currently captains J&K’s para cricket team.Ashish Nehra had invited him to watch the 2016 T-20 World Cup semi-final in Mumbai.
The tale of grit and determination began from the day Amir lost his arms in the accident in the family’s sawmill in 1997 at Waghama village in Anantnag’s Bijbehara, 48km from Srinagar. But his determination and love for cricket got him up in three years after timely treatment ensured by his parents and an army unit in the village.
“I would not have survived had the soldiers not helped in taking me to hospital. Thereafter, I went through specialised treatment outside J&K, though my father had to sell his sawmill business for the medical expenses,” Amir recalled. Another pillar of support was Amir’s grandmother,who he says assisted him with everyday chores and encouraged him to return to school after a three-year break. She passed away a few years ago.
Amir has been playing since 2013 after a teacher spotted his talent and introduced him to the local para cricket team. Although he became the centre of attention initially throughout the Valley, his appearances in Delhi, Lucknow, Kerala, Mumbai and Hyderabad para leagues brought him wider recognition and applause.
Watching him has been a leap of faith for most. “Everyone is astonished to see me bowl with my legs and bat with my shoulder and neck. I played (para) nationals in Delhi in 2013 and 2018, besides a match against Bangladesh. I thank God for giving me such strength,”Amir said.
International innings followed in due course for the Anantnag prodigy, with appearances in Nepal, Dubai, and more recently, in Sharjah for a UAE para league. “Bowling with the legs is really difficult but I have learnt all the techniques. I perform every task on my own. I am not dependent on anyone except God,” Amir said.
Little wonder then that the on-field exploits have raised hopes of an on-screen replay. “Pickle Entertainment is making a movie for me and the date will be announced soon. I went to a show where actor Vicky Kaushal was present. They were stunned by my journey and said they will make a movie about me,” Amir said.
Asked about his idols, Amir picked Sachin and Virat Kohli, clarifying the two are his favourites and that of his J&K para team. “I want to play for my country just like Sachin. He is my inspiration,” Amir said, calling for more efforts to promote para sports in Kashmir.