Blind cricket is an adaptation of the popular game of cricket adapted specifically for blind and partially sight impaired players. It was first governed by the World Blind Cricket Council (WBC) since 1996. Currently, five Blind World Cups is being held: New Delhi, India, Chennai, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The games are played between teams representing different countries. WBC rules include: no touch or ball from any player, the toss must be over the head of the batman, and that the batman cannot run to second base. There is also a point system in place.
While cricket continues to be a popular sport, many more eyes are becoming involved in other sports, including ice hockey, rugby, and boxing. This new development is an exciting opportunity for people with impaired sight to participate in a popular sport. The WBC believes that the participation of people like sight impaired people in this sport will raise awareness about their disability and enable them to participate in a popular sport. The association is also doing their best to expand educational opportunities for people with limited vision and is working hard to improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired people in developing countries.
In India, this sport has had a major impact. India has played a number of matches and won a number of games, including the first ever match played by an all-black team. The first ever black player to play for India was Kurtley Atkins who debuted in the outfield and made an outstanding performance. Now there are more promising opportunities for the blind and visually impaired in India: as the country prepares to host the Twenty20 World Cup in India this year, the government has announced that a first sports ground, Kooyong on the outskirts of Kolkata will become the first ever “blind-friendly” stadium.
In Pakistan, too, people have taken to the game very enthusiastically and the demand for the game has been steadily rising. The main reason behind this surge in popularity is the fact that cricket matches are now available on mobile phones. These mobile phones have built-in capability to allow users to access online cricketing services and live matches very easily. So while the mobile phone boom is helping people enjoy the game, the public’s interest in the game is also on the rise. In fact, many prominent Pakistani cricketers are taking the phone option to offer fans the latest cricket news and even interact with them on social media sites: something that used to be the prerogative of cable television operators in the country.
India is one of the few countries where cricket has made great gains in popularity among the general population. The reasons for this are varied and complex. One is that cricket is much more than just a game; it is a lifestyle, a way of life, a religion, a fashion statement, a community and more. The popularity of this sport among Indians is therefore unsurprising, but the question that needs to be asked is whether this interest is also shared by the majority of Indians, for whom cricket is largely ignored or regarded as merely a low-level sport.
Well, no, actually not everyone here is legally blind. That is something we’d like to remind you when we bring up the subject of cricket. But just because the interest in this sport is high among Indians does not automatically mean that all Indians care about it equally. That’s why we believe that there are a few notable differences between how the general public takes cricket and how the professionals at the different levels do.
Let’s take a look at a few ways in which cricket can be enjoyed by people who are not blind. One of the most popular ways of enjoying this game is to join a local cricket club in one’s own country of residence. However, there is another option for enthusiasts here too. Many people who have migrated to Australia or those living in the New South Wales, in particular, have opted to play the game on a regular basis. This is known as ‘blind cricket’.
In fact, it is this option that is being used more extensively in this country now. As of late, some local clubs in New South Wales have taken up the issue of offering a slightly altered form of this sport, known as ‘piccolo cricket’. What is it? Well, as the name suggests, the game is played by visually impaired players, while the rest of the team play in a pitch where the blind players can bat and bowl. The game is played in this manner for about half an hour, with the Blinds players joining the pitch from the middle. There are a few exceptions, where partially sighted players play along with the severely sighted, for a brief period.
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