Madurai student selected to play for India in international cricket tourney for blind
S Maharaja, hails from Duraisamy Puram village in Ottapidaram taluk in Thoothukudi district. He had partial vision till he was in Class 3.
MADURAI: An alumnus of Thiagarajar Arts and Science College, S Maharaja has been selected to the Indian men’s cricket team, who will participate in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games in Birmingham 2023, which will be held from August 18 to 27.
S Maharaja, hails from Duraisamy Puram village in Ottapidaram taluk in Thoothukudi district. He had partial vision till he was in Class 3. After he lost his eyesight completely, he studied at the Anne Jane Askwith Higher Secondary School for the visually impaired in Palayamkottai, where he was encouraged to take part in blind cricket when he was in Class 4.
As his journey continued into the later years, he was selected into the Indian team and became the first person from Tamil Nadu to represent India under the ‘fully blind’ category of B1. Speaking to TNIE, S Maharaja said he started practicing cricket in his childhood and got selected into the Tamil Nadu team while he was studying in Class 11.
“In Class 12, I secured 521/600 and joined BA English at the Thiagarajar Arts and Science College, where I was encouraged to pursue my sports career. For the past four years, I have represented Tamil Nadu and showcased my best performance, which even helped my team bring home the Nagesh trophy,” he said.
“I used to practice four hours regularly. College authorities encouraged visually impaired students by allowing them to torch the light at sports events, providing them with travelling allowances, and exempting them from classes for practice,” he said.
“I faced a lot of challenges in getting sponsorship in sports events. Though I have now been selected to represent World Games for Blind, I have to arrange the necessary kits, including food and other things on my own. People need to support visually impaired cricket players on par with normal cricket players,” he added. He requested Chief Minister MK Stalin and Minister for Sports Udhayanidhi Stalin to extend support to visually impaired cricket players and offer them government jobs as an encouragement, and to help them continue their sports career.
“Maharaja is an excellent left-arm bowler and he is an expert in batting too. He has brought laurels to our college at many national events, and won the ‘Man of the Match’ award in many games,” Thiagarajar College Physical Education Director R Selvakumar said.