A T-20 cricket league for persons with full or partial blindness is on the cards next month

The first ever T-20 Cricket World Cup for the blind to be held next month in Bangalore, will be a game with a difference. As many as nine countries will participate in the 12-day event where fully and partially blind players will participate, making the maximum use of their hearing skills.

The cricket ball with bearings inside enables the players to listen to the jingling and trace the movement of the ball. The stumps are made of steel and not wood, to help differentiate between batsman getting bowled and the ball hitting the bat. Players with low vision can identify the cricket stump as it is bigger in size. The sport involves a lot of verbal signaling done by partially sighted wicket keeper who helps fielders with directions. The bowler shouts “play” to alert the batsman right before delivering the ball.

“India has around 200 blind cricket teams and a total of 10,000 blind cricket players. This match will encourage many young players and will bring them in limelight,” said SP Nagesh, president of Cricket Association for Blind India (CABI). The event is being organized by CABI in association with Samathanam, a Bangalore based non governmental organization working for persons with disability.

Mahantesh, founder of Samathnam and a former visually impaired international cricketer said, “Being a sportsperson I know how playing a sport can make you confident enough to face the world and can transform your entire approach towards life and disability. You play to win and never give up.”

While officially announcing the commencement of the T-20 Blind Cricket World Cup 2012 in the Capital, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Oscar Fernandes said, “Blind people playing cricket will evoke enthusiasm as well as curiosity in every body. It will create awareness among the people.”

The 17 players representing India have been selected from across the country. Countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, West Indies, Pakistan, England, South Africa and India will participate in the T-20 World Cup. Live telecast of the semi final and final match will be shown on Doordarshan. India has hosted Blind Cricket World Cup in 1998 in New Delhi and in 2002 at Chennai. Popular cricket players like Syed Kirmani, Sourav Ganguli, Adam Gilchrist, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Arjuna Ranatunga have expressed support for blind cricket.

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