Recognising the success that the blind men’s cricket team had, Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) launched a 41 member women’s cricket team. Launched in 2011, the Indian men’s cricket team had won the T20 World Cup in 2012 where India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs. The men’s team has also won the ODI World Cup and the T20 Asia Cup.
On the 18th of September, Shantha Rangaswamy, chairman of the women’s selection team and the former captain of the Indian women’s team launched the team in Bengaluru. They are going to be trained by their male counterparts.
India’s blind women’s team is a contribution to creating history, a history first created by Nepal when it founded the first visually impaired women’s cricket team. According to John David, General Secretary of CABI, the demand for a women’s team had been in for a long time and there was interest from a lot of women to play at the national and international level.
This has implications far beyond than just succeeding in sports. Using sports to affirm their self empowerment, this will take their self esteem to greater heights. Shekhar Naik, ex-captain of the Blind Men’s cricket team says, “I am sure that this team will definitely show its talent and will participate at the national and international level. We need more support to recognize this kind of cricket.”
It is heartwarming to see cricket associations taking such progressive steps even under dearth of funds and recognition. The BCCI has not yet officially recognised Blind Cricket. Even after having so much potential, the Indian players were stuck without jobs. The Blind Cricket Association has been managing with the limited funds they have. This brings to light how national entities refuse swift recognition of talent. So far the Men’s team has won three world cups and yet the Board has not deemed any official recognition.
The possibilities of support and recognition has been shown by the UK’s Visually Impaired women’s team, when they went to play their first international match against Nepal. After their groundbreaking South Asian tour, their lives acquired a newfound happiness and freedom. As a team member quoted upon return, “Just back from an absolutely amazing and life changing trip to Nepal! Never gonna see the world in the same way again!”
Such support for the visually impaired is gathering momentum and it is time that our national boards give a chance to the the differently abled because they will be achieving so much more than just sports. They will be achieving a new found sense of self dignity. At last, this will hopefully encourage people with disabilities to take up sports as a means of self-expression.
With Inputs from: sportskeeda.com and thechangefoundation.com
Image credits: sportskeeda.com
Feature image contains a picture of the Blind Men’s Cricket team.
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