Cricket is termed as gentlemen’s game played irrespective of a person’s ability/disability. Cricket is played by individuals with physical disabilities including blind ones. Blind cricket was started in Australia in the year 1922 by the blind factory workers. Later on in the same year blind cricket association named Victorian Blind Cricket Association was made.
Blind cricket is played by completely and partially blind individuals. In September 1996 World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) was made. George Abraham is the founder of WBCC from India. WBCC has 10 members in it including 9 test playing nations Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and a non-test playing nation Nepal.
A team is supposed to field 11 players subdivided into 3 categories having 4 completely blind players (B1), 3 partially blind (B2), 4 partially sighted (B3). The balls used are larger than the regular ones having ball bearings in it to make them audible. Similarly the stumps are comparatively larger than the regular ones made up of hollow metal pipes in it allowing partially sighted players to visualize them and the blinds ones to touch them.
Rules are also slightly different. While releasing the ball, bowler shouts play, verbalizing the game. While bowling to a completely blind batsman, ball is required to pitch twice in order to make it audible for the batsman and pitch it once for the partially sighted batsman. Totally blind batsman require two LBWs to be declared out and can’t be stumped. Also a blind fielder can catch out on bounce.
Till date 4 Blind World Cups have been played in the years 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2014. In 2012 T20 format was introduced as the first Blind World Cup T20 was played in Bangalore, India. Pakistan and South Africa played the first Blind Cricket Test match in 2000 in which Pakistan defeated South Africa by 94 runs.
In 1998, the first Blind World Cup was held in New Delhi, India. South Africa won the tournament by defeating Pakistan in the final. In 2002, Pakistan defeated South Africa in the final which was held in Chennai, India. In 2006, Pakistan regained the title on their home ground Islamabad (Pakistan) by defeating India in the final. In 2014, India won the title for the first time by defeating Pakistan in the final at Cape Town, South Africa.
So far two T20 World Cups have been held both in India and also won by India both the times defeating Pakistan both the times.
5th edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup is starting from 8th January 2018 in Pakistan and UAE. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh will play matches in Lahore-Pakistan while India, South Africa, Australia and West Indies will play matches at Dubai.
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