Dressed in white and blue overalls, Vasanth Kumar comes charging onto the pitch with a full length delivery. Riaz shuffles himself at the crease and elegantly glances it the boundary rope. Though the shot warranted applause, all that the cricketers could hear was a faint rustle of the wind. Both the ‘single-handed players’ along with others get back to their positions and continue their game.
This is the grim situation at the ‘South India Cricket Tournament for Disabled’ where empty stands are currently greeting the cricketers. Despite their impairments, the players put up a good show. But, lack of proper recognition and support has discouraged many to take up the sport. “To organise a match, we have to work hard for more than a month to procure permission for playground, kits, sponsors and other issues,” laments senior cricketer Y. Vasanth Kumar.
Former Challenged Cricketer and Organising Secretary of Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (CAPC) K. Rami Reddy maintains that a little encouragement for the players would go a long way. “As sportspersons all they wish for is a celebratory applause and recognition from the officials. Our players perform well both at State and national level matches and there is no dearth of talent. It would be a big boost to their morale, if they could get to play some international matches,” he added.
The three-day tournament, jointly organised by Board of Disabled Cricket Club and Chittoor district’s CAPC, began on Tuesday at Thummalagunta grounds to mark the occasion of ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’. Noticing a low turn out, the sponsors tried to shift the venue to a different ground in vain. The final would be held between Hyderabad and Andhra at the same venue.