The Indian Blind Cricket team recently lifted the blind cricket World Cup and the news caught the internet by storm. But had most of us even heard of blind cricket before the win? It’s sad but true that even today we don’t know much about this sport. Don’t worry, we’ll enlighten you.
On January 13, the Indian Blind Cricket team beat Pakistan’s by two wickets and won the World Cup. India’s team brilliantly chased the 308 target. But this wasn’t the first match in history.
The very first World Cup was held for the match in 1998 in New Delhi after the formation of the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) in 1996. A total of five World Cups were held until now in 1998 (winner: South Africa), 2002 ( winner: Pakistan), 2006 (winner: Pakistan), 2014 (winner: India) and 2018 (winner: India).
However, the game was invented in Melbourne in 1922 by two blind factory workers! And how did they play the game? With tin cans containing rocks! They had no idea that their sport will after a few decades become a full-fledged sport. According to the website of the Victorian Blind Cricket Association, ‘it was founded shortly after, in 1922, and the first sports ground and clubhouse for blind cricket was built at Kooyong, Melbourne in 1928.’
According to Gauteng Cricket Board, ‘the world’s first Test Cricket match for the Blind was played between Pakistan and South Africa in which Pakistan defeated South Africa by 94 runs.
South Africa won the first Blind Cricket World Cup in 1998, defeating Pakistan in the final.’
The WBCC has ten member nations currently viz. Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, and Nepal. George Abraham of India was the founder of the WBCC and its first chairman.
So how are different are the rules between the sports of cricket and blind cricket? Firstly, the ball is of a much larger size in blind cricket to enable partially sighted players to see it. The ball is filled with contents that make a sound (auditory ball) so players can judge the direction it is coming from. The stumps are also larger and made with hollow metal pipes, with bright colours.
Apart from that, more verbal signals are used than visual ones. The bowler must scream ‘play’ while bowling and the umpires are also a lot more verbal. The ball delivery should pitch twice for a completely blind batsman and once for a partially blind one.
The fielders who are completely blind are allowed to catch the ball after one bounce. Also, you can LBW out a completely blind batsman and cannot stump-out them.
Apart from this, similar to cricket, blind cricket also has a team of 11 players. But unlike cricket, there is a segregation of players into B1 (four completely blind players), B2 (partially blind players three players) and B3 (partially sighted four players). You can read more rules here.
This year, a lot of players including Sachin Tendulkar gave congratulatory wishes to India’s Blind Cricket Team. As you fill your chest with pride for this team, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and educate them about blind cricket.
Preview Photo: india.com