Change Makers: Meet the First Indian Women's Blind Cricket Team to Compete Internationally

Change Makers: Meet the First Indian Women's Blind Cricket Team to Compete Internationally

By: WE Staff

Women are shining in every corner of the world by showcasing their talents and skills. They are proving themselves to society by conquering every aspect of life. Be it politics, entertainment, the corporate world, sports, or even climbing Everest, women are acing it all.

Women's cricket has expanded significantly in recent years grabbing more attention and investment being given to the sport. Many talented female cricketers are shining in the sport and making a name for themselves. There is a dedicated Indian Women's National Cricket Team in India which is established by the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI). Looking forward to empowering women in every way possible, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) named Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) formed the first women's blind cricket team in India in the year 2018. The organization was established in 2011 with the goal of promoting and supporting cricket for the visually impaired in India.

The cricket team for visually impaired women in India was formed with the motive of taking a significant step toward gender equality in sports. The CABI then found some talented female players throughout the nation and gave them a chance to train and play in the tournaments.

The members of the team have been working hard to improve their abilities and gain recognition for their sport. They have also participated in a number of domestic and international tournaments that include the first-ever Women's Blind T20 Asia Cup held in Bangkok, Thailand in the year 2019.

Competing Internationally for the First Time Ever

The Women's Blind Cricket team achieved another milestone this year on April 25 by competing with team Nepal in their first-ever international match. Between April 25 and April 30, the team will play in a bilateral T20 series in Nepal. The players were chosen based on their performances in the just-completed Bhopal selection trials.

It is more than just a dream come true for the 17-member team that makes up India's first-ever women's national team for the blind.

The 17-member team to represent the country in the T20 Bilateral Series for the Blind in Nepal is categorized as follows:

B1 Category:

  • Killaka Sandhya
  • U. Varsha
  • Padmini Tudu
  • Simu Das
  • Priya
  • Valasanaini Ravani

B2 Category

  • Gangavva Neelappa Harijan (Vice Captain)
  • Sandra Davis
  • Basanti Hansda
  • Pritiben Desai
  • Prity Prasad

B3 Category

  • Sushma Patel (Captain)
  • Phula Saren
  • Ganga Kadam
  • Deepika T C
  • Jhili Birua
  • M Satyavathi

The five matches of the T20 series will be played on the grounds of Kathmandu and Pokhara. The women's team has been formed by CABI in collaboration with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled to uplift the women players in the game.

The T20 National Trophy for visually impaired females was introduced in 2019 and 150 women participated from seven different states. In total three national tournaments were held where Odhisa won the national competition. The brand ambassador for the first competition was Smriti Mandhana, Indian Women's Cricket team vice-captain.

The second national competition was won by Karnataka that was held in which 14 state teams participated which had Rajeshwari Gayakwad as its brand ambassador.

Odhisa clinched the trophy in the third competition defeating Karnataka. The Captain of the Indian women's cricket team, Harmanpreet Kaur has been named as the brand ambassador for India's blind women's cricket team.

Some New Rules for the Unique Players

As this is a special tournament, the rules for this game are also quite different. The players of the 17-member team are having different stages of visual impairments. Of the six players placed in the B1 category (who are entirely blind), the players in the B2 category are partially blind and the B3 category players are partially sighted.

The rules and regulations of the game are also modified but the overall game structure is the same. Both ball and bat will be modified looking forward to the special players of the team.

The ball will be significantly larger than a typical cricket ball loaded with ball bearings to provide audible clues.

The wickets will be made of metal so that a sound is created when the ball or bat strikes them.

The players can only ball underarm.

Before the delivery reaches the batter, it must pitch twice

The field of the tournament will be a bit smaller than in traditional cricket with boundaries that range in length from 45 yards to 55 yards.

A Step in the Right Direction

The very objective of sports is to allow individuals to gain a sense of pride and achievement in their unique abilities. By making the game of cricket inclusive, the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) has taken a step in the right direction. It is empowering specially-abled women in India to dream big in life. More power to these sportswomen, may they touch greater heights in the game of cricket and bring laurels to the country as a whole.