FOR THE BLIND - A SPORT OF AWESOME AGILITY
the last wicket of Karnataka team fell, the ground
burst into joy suddenly. The innocent faces celebrated
the victory by embracing, shaking hands and clapping.
They exuded a feeling that they have conquered the whole
world! This was the scene at the Gymkhana grounds
on the event of All India under-18 Cricket Tournment
for the blind. Though the players were visually handicapped,
the enthusiasm shown by these cricketers was remarkable.
The All India under-18 cricket tournament for the blind
was the first of its kind in
India and five teams, Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi,
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, participated
in it. The tournament was conducted in round Robin league
system and each team played the other team 4 times each.
In the finals, batting first, AP team scored 258 runs
from 30 overs where as Karnataka could score only 195
runs from 23 overs. Andhra Pradesh team might have won
the tournament by beating Karnataka, but in real terms
it was a victory for the players who displayed unmatched
sportsman spirit by overcoming the disability. All India
under-18 tournment held in Hyderabad was a preliminary
event to the 2002 World Cup to be held in New
first world cup for the blind, which was held in New
Delhi in 1998, saw real recognition for this form
of cricket. The same year the Association of Cricket
for the Blind in India (ACBI) was instituted to administer
and promote the sport among the blind in the country.
Today there are many stars who are just beginning to excel
in cricket. Some of them are Shailender, the only
century hero in the tournment, from Dehradun and Shekhar
Nayak from Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh too has produced
some star cricketers and they are gearing up for the next
world cup. Mr P. Chandrashekhar, coach of the AP
cricket team for the blind, speaking to hyderabad-best.com
says, "There are 40-50 good players from Andhra
Pradesh and around 7 players are sure to get selected
for the all India team. P Sridhar, Nanaji, the captain
of the AP under-18 team and Ramu, all hailing from Devnar
Foundation for the Blind are some of the cricketers who
could be an asset to Indian cricket in future."
are immense benefits to the visually impaired from the
game of cricket. It makes them strong and removes the
inferior feeling that always bothers them. "Cricket
prepares the visually impaired to face the challenges
in life. The game helps in rehabilitation of the mind,
building confidence and fostering competitive spirit,"
says Chandra Shekhar. It also helps in developing leadership
qualities, discipline and will power, essential elements
to win the game of life.
Cricket for the blind is played using a hard plastic ball
which is white in colour. The ball is filled with tiny
ball bearings that rattle when the ball moves. The wickets
are made of metal and are screwed together to ensure they
are aligned. The bowler shouts when he is about to deliver
the ball and the batsman replies when he is ready. The
bowling is always under arm. Apart from a few rules which
have been adapted for the blind, all rules of regular
cricket rules apply to this game.
there are some problems that have to be overcome to make
cricket for the blind popular. Lack of good grounds, facilities,
encouragement and sponsorships are some of them. "We
are not provided proper grounds to play and are often
forced to play in hockey and football grounds,"
says Gulab Singh, coach of the Delhi cricket team, which
participated in the tournament. This is not the only problem
upsetting cricket for the blind, there are some other
problems like lack of specialist umpires to officiate
the game. "There are certain rules which are quite
different in this form of cricket and special umpires
who have knowledge of rules and regulations of cricket
for the blind should be employed," says Gulab Singh.