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GOOD SHOT: A batsman from the Andhra Pradesh team strikes the ball at the Nethrodaya Cricket Cup held in Chennai on Saturday. Photo: S.R Raghunathan
GOOD SHOT: A batsman from the Andhra Pradesh team strikes the ball at the Nethrodaya Cricket Cup held in Chennai on Saturday. Photo: S.R Raghunathan

Susan Muthalaly

Five teams competing for the first Nethrodaya Cup for the blind

CHENNAI: Have ball will play, they say: even if they can't see it.

The five teams competing for the first 'Nethrodaya Cricket Cup - Cricket for the Blind' comprise members with varying degrees of visual impairment, some of them completely blind.

Yet, this match isn't just an exhibition of the indomitable human spirit, it's about the game. There are some serious national-level and World Cup players in the teams from the four south Indian states (Kerala has two).

IIT plays host

Gopi Govindaraj from Nethrodaya is the brain behind the tournament. He says, "Sports is an integral part of our lives, but it is restricted to people without disabilities. This is a chance for the visually impaired students to play in a user-friendly environment." The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, stepped forward to play host on their grounds.

India has been a pioneer in formulating the game and arranging a World Cup for blind cricket, thanks to the visually impaired George Abraham, founder of the Association of Cricket for the Blind in India (ACBI), who is a cricket enthusiast. The boys have been practicing for three months now. Sunday is the big day, when the finals will decide the first residence of the spanking new trophy. Former test cricketer V.V. Kumar, who inaugurated the tournament on Saturday, said the Indian team could learn a lot about concentration and focus from the blind cricketers. The finals begin at 4.30 p.m. at IIT and is open to the public.

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