Victory could not turn a blind eye before the constant determination, courage and perseverance of eleven boys in the University College. The team members are all smiles as they turned champions at the recently concluded 10th Azeez Memorial All Kerala Cricket Tournament for Blind, one of the prestigious matches conducted in the state for the visually challenged organised by the Calicut Higher Secondary School for the Handicapped.
In the 15 over match, they emerged victorious beating Maharajas College, Ernakulam. The tournament concluded at Farook in Kozhikode on Sunday.
It was the casual practice sessions in the evenings on the premises of the men’s hostel in the city that equipped them to lift the cup in the tourney. “Everyday, we spend some two hours on the ground once the classes are over. The eleven member team would split into two and play opposite each other,” says Vishnu U P a final year B A Hindi student and the captain of the cricket team. Moreover they used to practise at the Peroorkada ground during holidays.
Vishnu and Shibu Abraham, who are undergoing professional coaching as they are part of the state team, teaches their friends to play cricket. Besides this, no professional coaching or training has been given to the team members to compete in a match. Many of them are former students of the Government School for the Visually Impaired at Vazhuthacaud with a good record of playing cricket during school days.
There were eight teams playing at the tournament altogether, out of which four reached the semis and theirs was one team that made it to the finals. The team has members in three different categories, of fully blind (B1), partially blind (B2) and who can almost see (B3). Other than the tinkling balls and metal stumps, no difference can be spotted from the equipment used for a regular cricket match.
Each run scored by a B1 member is doubled. Likewise, if the fielder catches the ball after hitting the ground just once, the batsman would be declared out.
Even while basking in the glory of their achievement, the team complains on the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities. “It was the PTA of the college who provided the fund so that we could participate in the match. While millions are spend on celebrity cricket our efforts are not being properly recognised,” Shibu points out. With this victory, they are optimistic that their hopes and aspiration would attain fruition.