First domestic national cricket league for blind women

Blind women cricketers of India will get to play a domestic national league for the first time when the Blind Cricket Nationals begins here on December 16.

Delhi captain Ankitha Singh is greeted by Brian Lara in the presence of team-mate Pooja, at a press conference here on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

Blind women cricketers of India will get to play a domestic national league for the first time when the Blind Cricket Nationals begins here on December 16. Seven teams from across the country will participate in the four-day T20 tournament which will culminate with the final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

The tournament has been organised by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India, and supported by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.

West Indian legend Brian Lara lent his support to the initiative. Commenting on it in a press meet here, he said: “I'm very grateful and blessed to have all my faculties to be able to do the things that I've done throughout my career. But if I was I suppose I will feel some sort of injustice. I would be like if I wasn't given a fair share. But I'll come to terms with it. And I'd want to do the same things that I have done, as opposed to what I say. I would want to go to school. I want to learn. I want to be educated, I want to have a job. I want to have a recreation. Now, these ladies and their tournament, just approaching. I feel very proud and humbled to be in their (participants') presence. I feel that this is wonderful.”

“I have followed India and their exploits in men's team, winning World Cups around the world. And of course, beaten Pakistan a lot of times. I want to wish the ladies. I want to wish the association. All the best for this tournament. I think it's a great initiative. India has a wonderful ladies team. In the game against England I remember the finals. But this is an opportunity,” Lara added.

It was time a domestic tournament was organised for women, pointed out Shailendra Yadav, secretary, Cricket Association for the Blind-North Zone. He said: “For the last 29 years the men’s team is playing and we always talk about women’s empowerment. With the help of CABI and Samarthanam [Trust for the Disabled] we have been talking but there was no action. Today we’re kicking off.”

Looking ahead to the tournament, Ankitha Singh, the captain of the Delhi team, said, “It is a very big platform for us and we will play to win.”

Matches will be held in three venues — the Siri Fort Sports Complex, the DDA Sports Complex in Saket, and the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

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