Here’s why you should care about Blind Cricket.
As privileged individuals of society, we constantly take the facilities, the rights and the abilities we have, for granted. Rarely does it happen, that we find things fall into perspective and give us a wake up call. There are countless stories of unsung heroes and fighters out there in the world as it drowns itself with hits, likes, comments and popularity. But to balance the negligence of people and the media, a limited group endlessly toils away to earn their own name, in a game that runs through their veins. Their only hurdle, the fact that they don’t have the luxury of sight. They see the same dreams as us, but in quiet darkness. They want to pave themselves a path towards success ad recognitions, and are willing to work double as hard as a regular person.
India’s Blind Cricket team. The one that’s the best in the world. The one that brought home the T20 World Cup home, twice including this year in February. But, how many people did this news reach? Not many. As people like the Prime Minister and Sachin Tendulkar congratulated them on their feat, their glory and victory faded into oblivion under pages of other news and data.
Not a lot is spoken about how this sport works, and how it is played. Blind cricket was invented in Melbourne in 1922 by two blind factory workers who improvised the game using a tin can containing rocks. From humble beginnings to a full-fledged association dedicated to it, Blind Cricket is a platform for blind and partially-sighted people to live their dream and have a place where their disability is not a hurdle, but a strength.
The intriguing part of Blind Cricket is how it is not as different from a regular Cricket as expected to be. The only differences are:
- The 11 players are a composition of fully blind, partially blind and partially sighted people.
- The ball that is used for bowling is called an audible ball as it contains ball-bearings inside it, which enables the players to hear the ball as it is in play.
- The bowling is always done underarm.
- The bowler is supposed to shout “Ready?” before bowling and the batsman must respond to it by saying “Yes”. As the bowler releases the ball he should shout “Play”. If any of these calls are not properly timed by the bowler, it is declared as a no ball by the umpire.
Blind Cricket is not just a game, but a place for individuals who have the courage the dream, and the zeal to succeed, irrespective of the hurdle that lies in their way. This is where privilege becomes a mere word, and vision finds its true meaning. The vision that lies in the mind, and not in the eyes. With every opportunity we let go to waste, there is a man with a ball waiting on the sidelines waiting to play, with every moment that we let our lethargy take over us, there is a blind man on the pitch, hitting a ball like his life depends on it.
And we still have excuses?
By Anumon Banerjee