Metroplus

Overcoming odds

Vijaykanth. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Vijaykanth. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

At a time when most children begin to form grand plans for their lives ahead, Vijaykanth stood on the brink of losing all hope. A motorcycle accident at the age of 14 left his right foot shorter than his left — a plight that even adults will struggle to cope with. A short while after the mishap, Vijaykanth decided to take the bull by its horns. Unwilling to give up on the sport he loved, he joined a cricket camp for the physically challenged. Thirteen years later, the turnaround is complete. The 27-year-old is now a member of the Indian physically challenged team, and wears the national team’s jersey with pride.

“The doctor made a mistake during surgery. He cut the wrong bone, which left the height of my legs unmatched,” says Vijaykanth, who hails from an army background. Vijaykanth has always been a passionate cricketer, and the bungled surgery left him shattered. “I could not play cricket with my friends anymore, and that was heartbreaking. My only option was to do well in academics, but my mother encouraged me continue playing cricket.”

Just when he was about to throw in the towel, Vijaykanth’s friends informed him about a cricket camp for the disabled. After some persuasion from his mother, the Kendriya Vidyalaya student attended the camp, and has not looked back since. The all-rounder soon became a regular member of the Karnataka team, before going on to represent the country in seven international matches. Under the guidance of his coach Suresh Shanbal (a former Karnataka Ranji Trophy cricketer), Vijaykanth has achieved plenty of notable performances.

He states that financial gain is hard to come by. He makes a living by working at an event management company, a steady source of income which allows him to play cricket. “I play for the love of the sport, not for money. I usually pay from my own pocket to play cricket,” he says.

Asked about the changes he would like to see, financial or otherwise, Vijaykanth replies: “We need support, not sympathy. People should make time to come and see us play. This will help educate them about disabled cricket, and they can see that we work just as hard as any of the international cricketers that we see on television.”

“Our community needs the support of sponsors. The Karnataka State Physically Challenged Cricket Association (KSPCCA) needs money to organise tournaments, and any help will be appreciated,” he says. Contact John Peter, the Manager of the Karnataka team, at 9480429313 to support cricket for the physically challenged.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 3:54:02 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/overcoming-odds/article5590391.ece