Background of Blind Cricket
It is always a surprise to learn that the history of blind cricket in the world dates back to 1922 when a couple of blind factory workers in Australia developed a concept for the game using a drum as a wicket, a tin can filled with rocks as a ball and wooden planks as bats. It was not until 1962, however, that a system of rules and regulations for playing this game was put into place when several enthusiastic boys got together to initiate cricket for the blind. Bats in those days were made of four-foot long wooden planks and the balls were made of iron or steel. The balls proved to be ineffective and liable to cause injuries to bowlers and batters alike, however, and a plastic ball was subsequently developed some 20 years later.
The credit for initiating modern blind cricket goes to George Abraham of India, Treber of Australia and Aga Sauquat Ali of Pakistan. At that time, blind players were not classified into categories of blindness, but players with a degree of vision were made to play with blindfolds over their eyes.
Generally in blind cricket, the ball has to be bowled underarm, batting strokes are played horizontally, and the ball is filled with ball bearings to make it rattle. Teams have to comprise four players categorised as B1 (totally blind), three categorised as B2 (partially blind) and four categorised as B3 (partially sighted), who identified on the field of play by the white, red and blue wristbands respectively.
For many years, the game was confined to domestic levels and only a few international events were held. It was not until 1996 that the great blind players of the world joined together to form an international body to govern this form of the game, establishing the World Blind Cricket Council under the chairmanship of George Abraham and incorporating five countries. It now comprises 10 full members: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, England and, following the country’s admission at the council’s annual general meeting in Pakistan, Nepal. The council has organised three one day blind cricket world cups and one T20 blind cricket world cup.
A short history of blind cricket in Nepal
The history of blind cricket in Nepal dates back to the early 1990s when teachers from Nepalese blind schools returned from a visit to their counterparts in India with several bell balls. At the Indian blind schools, they had seen students hitting, throwing and chasing a bell ball by listening to the sound it made, but they were still unaware of the rules of the game or even what it was officially called.
On their return to Nepal, therefore, they just got their students to throw, hit and chase the balls as they had seen in India. The blind schools in Jhapa and Dharan were the first two to play with bell balls in this way, and the trend continued until 2006, when Abdul Rajaq and Sultan Shah of the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council visited Nepal to offer cricket training.
The Nepal Association of the Blind helped to gather blind youth from Kathmandu at the small cricket ground in Vrikutimandap on 7 August 7 for the first day of training (the remaining seven days were held at Tribhuvan University International Cricket in Kirtipur just outside Kathmandu). Attended by 31 boys and two girls and was conducted by two sighted persons, this training session was the first chance that blind Nepalese had got to hold bats and balls in their hands. The last day of the training programme, 16 August 2006, saw the Cricket Association of the Blind, Nepal formally established to govern blind cricket in the country.
To commemorate the historic event, CAB, Nepal celebrates 7 August as a national blind cricket day every year.