#Beyond Boundaries: Saluting the passion of the blind

         Don’t we all enjoy a good game of cricket? The smell of the freshly mowed grass, the sound of the thousands fans screaming and cheering as the ball goes straight over the stadium fences, or the anticipation of the last ball. But have you ever wondered what happens when you can’t see the ball coming at you and all you have to rely on is something that sounds like a rattle and the words, ‘Play, Play, Play’?

There are many visually challenged people who go beyond their boundaries to follow their passions not only for cricket but also in life. To celebrate and make people aware of these passions and dedications, we at Siyaram’s decided to collaborate with Rotary Club and the Blind Welfare Association of India to bring to light the lives of those who live in darkness. The event chosen was the Inter-State Blind Cricket Cup.

(Team Punjab bringing on the cheer before starting the match)

Blind Cricket is a version of cricket adapted for the blind and partially sighted players. The All-India tournament was a 3 day affair with teams from 8 different states across the country — Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. The tournament was held in Mumbai from 16th-18th January, 2018, with matches at Islam Gymkhana. 

The first day saw a lot of enthusiasm from the 8 state teams at the opening ceremony on the Islam Gymkhana ground. Matches were played only in daylight so as to allow players a better chance to see the ball. The scores and live commentary was made available on the Zooter app. Their spirit was remarkable and there was never a challenge that the teams couldn’t face.

The rules of Blind Cricket are very similar to that of cricket with only differences in the way they play it. For example, the ball that they play with has to be a size 3 Mitre ball, or equivalent and has to be white, filled with ball bearings. This allows partially sighted players to see the ball and the contents allow blind players to hear it. The stumps are 10 inches wide such that partially sighted players can see them and blind players can touch it in order to correctly orient themselves when batting or bowling. Bails are not used. They commonly use of the ‘sweep shot’, in order to provide the maximum chance of the bat hitting the ball. To see what ball is used in this game, head over to our Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2GzGtRE

The excitement and zeal with which the teams played with was truly remarkable to watch! Our three-day event ended with the Gujarat team winning the tournament and the Madhya Pradesh team bagging the runner’s up title.
Players from team Gujarat like Hitesh Pandya and Ashwin Kumar were key players in their journey to victory. They were named ‘Best Bowler’ and ‘Best Fielder’ respectively. Not to forget Ketan Patel who was truly an honour to watch. He scored a total of 238 runs and took 3 wickets for his team in the tournament. He was also awarded the titles of ‘Man of the Series’ and the ‘Best Batsman’.  With grit, determination and passion these men achieved success, after all people with true passion make the impossible happen no matter the hurdles. Let us give a round of applause to these brave men and salute them for who they are!

Head over to our Instagram handle to check out the highlights of the event: https://www.instagram.com/siyaramsindia/

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