It wasn’t long ago when the ‘differently abled’ Indian cricket team scripted history by lifting the T20 Blind World Cup and retaining the champion’s tag. Less than a fortnight ago, India were up against arch rivals Pakistan at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore to defend their title.
Both teams came into the contest with a superb record during the tournament. Where India had won eight out of nine games, losing only to Pakistan, beat Sri Lanka in the semi-final by a convincing ten wicket margin to seal their place in the summit clash. Neighbours Pakistan had been going one better by winning all nine matches and they had edged England in Karnataka by massive 147 runs.
But on the day that mattered the most, India gave account of their brilliance as they chased down a huge target of 198 and did that convincingly, winning the game by 9 wickets. India crossed the line with over 2 overs to spare, courtesy of Jayaramaiah, who missed out on the century by just one run as he remained unbeaten on 99.
Now while we gloat in the glory of the victory, let’s get an insight into the nitty-gritties of the discipline. A tale of grit, determination, passion and spirit, Blind Cricket is a true manifestation of excellent human spirit and an instinct to perform, regardless of the disabilities.
Getting deeper into the peculiarities of Blind Cricket, there are certain modifications it has over regular cricket to facilitate ease of play for them.
Firstly, looking at the players forming the team- there are 3 sets of players that comprise of the 11:
- B1 (Totally blind players) :No light perception in either eye up to light perception, but inability to recognize shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction
- B2 (Partially blind) : From ability to recognize the shape of the hand up to a visual acuity of 2/60 or visual field of less than five degrees in the better eye after correction
- B3 (Partially sighted players) :From visual acuity above 2/60 up to visual acuity of 6/60 or a visual field of less than 20 degrees in better eye after correction.
Coming to the team composition: among the 11, there has to be:
- A minimum of 4 B1 players
- 3 of B2 players
- A maximum of 4 B3 players
Batting and Bowling
While the bat is the same as used in regular cricket, the ball is considerably larger and filled with ball bearings to help the players sense the direction of the ball.
Coming to the bowling in the game:
- The bowling has to be underarm always.
- The delivery is required to pitch at least twice when bowled to a batsman, but must not be rolling.
- The bowler has to say “ready?” to the batsman when he is set to bowl. To which the batsman has to respond by calling out “yes”. At the point of delivery the bowler must say “play”. Failure to do so will result in a no ball being called.
- A no-ball will also be called if the call of “play”, is in the opinion of the umpire, early or late.
While the stumps are usually wooden and to an extent, plastic, when being played on an artificial surface, there are no bails used and the stumps colour is fluorescent orange or yellow.
The pitch though is the standard 22 yards surface, turf or synthetic grass, but the boundary size is comparatively lower ranging from a minimum of 45 yards to a maximum of 55.
The rules are standard but the B1 category of player has certain exceptions wherein he is allowed to have a runner, can take a catch on the bounce and each of the run scored by him doubles.
Each of the players on the field are identified by categories using the following mechanism:
- B1 players wear a white wrist band on the right wrist or carry one white stripe on the right upper arm of the playing shirt.
- B2 players wear a red wrist band on the right wrist or carry two white stripes on the right upper arm of the playing shirt.
- B3 players wear a blue wrist band on the right wrist or carry three white stripes on the right upper arm of the playing shirt.
You must have got a clear idea of the game now and can now, get on to saluting these boys who defied all odds to bring us the glory!
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