For half of the Indian cricketing fan it was a moment of a strange yet filled with ecstasy revelation: a revelation too dear yet too unique, when they came to know that Indian blind team has won the cricket T20 world cup and that too for the second time. For people demitted by physical support and that too vision, having such a global event is indeed commendable and WBCC and ICC should be given due credit for regular hosting of such events.
12th Feb, Sunday brought another feather to the anyway glorious Indian Cricketing fraternity. M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru witnessed the final, where India chased down the target of 198 runs with just a single loss of wicket. Pakistan, winning the toss and opting to bat first, scored a total of 197/8 in 20 overs. Later, India scoring 200/1 in just 17.4 overs, finished the game in style with top scorer Prakasha Jayaramaiah, opener, scoring 99 runs. India had won the inaugural T20 World Cup against the same opponent, beating by 29 runs in the final.
Both teams came into the contest with a superb record during the tournament. Where India had won eight out of nine games, losing only to Pakistan, beat Sri Lanka in the semi-final by a convincing ten wicket margin to seal their place in the summit clash. Neighbors Pakistan had been going one better by winning all nine matches and they had edged England by massive 147 runs. There was a huge speculation regarding the outcome but eventually it was men in blue who once again achieved this feat.
Blind cricket has come a long way since the entire idea to include cricketers, filled with cricket enthusiasm but impaired by vision deformity, was conceived. Blind cricket is governed by the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) since 1996. So far, four Blind World Cups have been held and two T20 world cups. In blind cricket, the balls have bearing so that when it tosses, the sound is heard and Bowling is underarm and the ball has to pitch once before the mid pitch. Blind cricket relies on common use of the ‘sweep shot’, in order to provide maximum chance of the bat hitting the ball. Even in this match, majority of run has come from cover and fine region.
Blind cricket has come a long way. Just like women cricketers, blind cricketers remain the unsung hero of the respective nation. All the teams of other countries barring India, are affiliated to their mainstream cricket Boards – be it Cricket Australia (CA), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) or New Zealand Cricket (NZC) – and their respective boards pay for all the necessities. But, in India, they are governed by Cricket Association of Blind in India (CABI), which is not recognized by either the BCCI or the Sports Ministry. The few and far between financial assistance from corporate is what keeps the blind cricket moving in India. It is time that these heroes of our nation should be brought to light and moreover appropriate and necessary infrastructure should be duly provided. After all they are making the nation proud on a global stage and scripting histories. There has a long fought battle between Cricket and ‘Other Sports’ in India. So at least, keeping the former heavier, let’s not discriminate ‘Others’ in cricket at least.