BANGALORE: City lad and the captain of disabled cricket team, Vijaykant Tiwari, has yet again been selected for the Indian National Disabled Cricket Team for their upcoming South Africa tour. The team which will play five T-20 matches against South Africa at Johannesburg, leaves on June 29.
The Indian team had emerged victorious last month in a three-match series against Pakistan at Haryana.
Speaking to City Express ahead of the series, Tiwari is confident they will win the series. "We haven't played against South Africa yet. But we are feeling quite confident. We need to identify their strengths and weaknesses and understand the pitch there as well. But it's five matches and there have been no recent changes in the team. There's plenty of time to do what we need," says the off-spinner.
However, while things are looking up for the national team, the Karnataka team, only a little more than a year old, is yet to find its feet. "There's still no regular facility where the boys can practice at the nets. We've gone to so many people looking for sponsors. But most people are only interested in Return On Investment (ROI). A team like Rajasthan gets so many different facilities. People really look after those teams. We have nothing of the sort in Karnataka. Here most of the cricketers can't afford to even come for practice on weekdays, as their already measly salaries will be cut," informs Tiwari, who himself runs an event management company when he's not on the field. While he mostly does it to earn for himself, whatever he can spare he shares with KSPCCAI (Karnataka State Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India).
The Karnataka captain is quite eager to get things running in Karnataka. "It would be great if we could start off by organising a T20 series of sorts. KSPCCAI is trying its best to organise a T-20 inter-state series here but there are no funds. Hopefully, something will come through soon enough," he rues.
The Karnataka team is also in talks with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled and if all goes well, Bangalore will see a brand new academy for disabled cricketers in the near future.
"The aim is to make Bangalore the hub for cricketers like me, keeping in mind the facilities available as well as the added advantage of pleasant weather through the year. They also want to focus on educating young cricketers, especially when it comes to professional education," he adds.
After the South Africa series, the national team is looking forward to the Asia Cup that will take place in August-September, where teams like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be taking part. Tiwari is now getting ready to travel to Mumbai for a three day camp ahead of the team's departure to South Africa.