Dravid named brand ambassador for T20 World Cup for the Blind

"I have tried to play cricket while blindfolded when we were in Delhi this year during the IPL. It is really, really difficult," said Dravid, who was explaining his role as the brand ambassador for the event.

Rahul Dravid (centre) brand Ambassador for second T20 World Cup Cricket Touranament for the Blind (2017) and Mahantesh G. K. (left), (CABI) President Cricket Association for the Blind in India, along with John David, General Secretary (CABI), at an event in Bengaluru.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

When Rahul Dravid is associated with a cricket team, in any capacity, he is expected to take on the role of philosopher and guide. His most recent endeavour, however, could prove to be different.

Dravid, named the brand ambassador for the 2nd T20 World Cup for the Blind, was asked if he would act as a mentor to his visually-impaired peers. “Actually, I might need some mentoring from them. What they do is a lot tougher than what I did. It would be foolish for me to say that I can mentor them because I have never experienced what it is like to be a visually-impaired cricketer. My role is to create awareness about this event,” Dravid said, at a press conference held here on Wednesday.

“I have tried to play cricket while blindfolded when we were in Delhi this year during the IPL. It is really, really difficult. To conquer that fear - an object coming towards you - is very difficult. The ball comes at you quite fast. I could not do it, and had to back out after a while,” the former India captain stated.

"These cricketers play with so much enthusiasm despite their handicap. All of us face challenges in our lives, and these boys inspire us to overcome them," Dravid said. The 43-year-old called on enthusiasts to fill the match venues in large numbers.

The tournament will commence on January 28 next year, and will be held across eight Indian cities. The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), the cricketing arm of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, will play host.

CABI evaluates the expenses involved in organising the event to be Rs. 24.5 crore. CABI President G.K. Mahantesh appealed to corporates, government bodies and individuals to provide financial support. "To help raise funds, CABI will sell balls used in blind cricket. Each ball costs Rs. 200, and orders for the same can be placed online,” Mahantesh said. He added that though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to give official recognition to CABI, it has promised to provide financial aid.

In the first edition, held in Bengaluru, the host emerged as the champion. India has since won the ODI World Championship (2014) and the T20 Asia Cup (2016).