A match that broke barriers

CLOSE FINISH: Indo-Pakistan Bilateral Blind Cricket Match at the IIT Madras campus on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu

CLOSE FINISH: Indo-Pakistan Bilateral Blind Cricket Match at the IIT Madras campus on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu


This was a cricket match between India and Pakistan but conspicuously missing was the ‘fever' that is generally associated with such encounters. Also missing were the life-sized hoardings put up by sponsors and flashy banners that characterise the partisan crowd that usually attends such clashes.

However, the Indo-Pakistan bilateral Blind Cricket Series, organised by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, Bangalore, with support from the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association for the Blind had a special flavour to it, marked by the zeal of cricket players for whom, neither disability nor borders was a barrier.

Balls that made tinkling sounds and bowlers that rolled the ball under-arm and shouted 'start' and 'play' to alert the batsman every time – these are some of the little tweaks that differentiate the cricket played by people with visual impairment from the sport played generally. “There are other differences too. If a fully blind person scores a run on his bat, it is automatically doubled and he can also take a catch after one bounce,” said Sai Darshan Kumar, the umpire. The inaugural match on Saturday started with India making 200 runs while Pakistani players tried their best chasing it. The bilateral series will lay the ground for the upcoming World Cup scheduled in December in Bangalore that will have teams participating from ten countries. The matches will be held at IIT grounds on Sunday and SPIC YMCA grounds, Nandanam, till March 19.

One aspect that stood out was that while the players from Pakistan sported impeccable jerseys and sports shoes, the Indian players could have turned out more smartly. “We have been trying to get both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments and many companies to sponsor our players and these tournaments, but nobody showed any interest,” said T. Shankar of the Trust.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:48:37 AM |

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