The Devnar foundation for the blind, which runs the Devnar School for the Blind in Begumpet, on Thursday felicitated Mahendar Vaishnav, vice-captain of the Indian blind cricket team that recently beat Pakistan at the Chennai ODI and T-20 series.
Mahendar, who also happens to be an alumnus of Devnar school, began playing professional cricket at the tender age of 12. Present at the felicitation was Indian test cricketer VVS Laxman who honoured the visually-challenged player.
Speaking on the occasion, he said, “In 2007, I had the opportunity to watch a match in Delhi by the blind cricket teams and it was very inspirational. These players who can’t see, have heightened their other senses to play. It was very humbling. I’ve met Mahendar before and am very proud of his achievements.
Both of us represent our country and it’s a mark of success to be able to do so.
I hope others like him draw inspiration from his success.”
Mahendar is a celebrity in his own right for setting a world record of taking five wickets in under four overs in the blind cricket format. Talking about his journey, he throws light on some of the major problems faced by the sport.
“Blind cricket is a very neglected sport that requires a lot of encouragement. Forget about the BCCI. The association for blind cricket themselves are a bit tardy. This is because they lack funds and so everything becomes a problem. For us, getting a field to practice is difficult. Unlike regular cricket we can’t just call up and say we want the field. Sometimes, even having the appropriate permissions isn’t enough and we’re sidelined to a small patch on the ground.
A lot of awareness needs to be spread,” he said.
Appealing to cricketers like Laxman and the media, he asked for attention to be given to the abysmal state of blind cricket.
The 27-year old, besides being a professional cricketer, is also a third-party employee of GE. The Devnar school which started 20 years ago and currently has a strength of 480 students, also released the Sri Sai Satcharita which has been printed in Braille at the function/.