India has world's best blind cricket team, but players are languishing without jobs
Ketan Patel, who's been playing for India since 2004, is still struggling to make ends meet.
Earlier this month, the Indian cricket team moved to the No. 1 spot in the ICC T20 rankings by whitewashing Australia in Australia. With that spectacular performance, India became the first team to win against an Australian team in a bilateral series with three or more matches in 140 years of cricketing history.
However, another cricket team from India, that has been performing really well but hasn’t got much recognition and attention, is the Indian blind cricket team.
The Indian blind cricket team was formed in 1998 and currently, is beeing managed by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI).
It is associated with World Blind Council and is the apex body governing blind cricket in India. Around 25states are associated with CABI which is the only authorizing body to get other teams to play cricket.
CABI is an independent entity which is backed by the Samarthanam Trust, a non-profit organization. Currently, they are in serious need of funds as the situation of the team members is pathetic. They are struggling financially, staying in hinterlands of villages and doing odd jobs.
Ketan Patel, who is a member of the Indian blind cricket team and has been playing for 12 years now. He was awarded the Man of the Series trophy in the recently concluded ODI and T20 series in England.
But he is struggling without a job and any potential growth. Despite many requests to state government, Patel has been unsuccessful in finding the much-needed employment.
Patel made his debut in 2004 at the National Blind Championship in Chennai and after playing for almost 12 years, he is still struggling to make ends meet.
However, the Indian cricket team kept their struggles away from their performances. In December 2012, India won the first T20 World Cup for the blind in Bangalore, and in 2014, they won the ODI World Cup in Cape Town. India is the only team in the world to have won the T20, ODI, and the Asian Championship in blind cricket.
The team believes that donations and awareness will make a huge difference and with better equipment, they can perform better. And with some help from the government, they can get jobs which will make their life a little easier.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to recognize blind cricket which is one of the team‘s main demand as well, but it is not expected to happen anytime soon.
Despite these odds, the Indian blind cricket team is currently focusing on the upcoming T20Blind World Cup which is scheduled to held in November and December this year.