Yes, that is correct!
The last couple of weeks, venues in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have seen cricket matches played by the Blind for the World Cup. Teams from seven countries participated in this tournament. They were: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies. (See another video news clip here).
This World Cup tournament received scant media coverage (although on winning the World Cup did get them a picture on the front page of Dawn) and even less public knowledge or participation. The opening games were played on the League-basis, followed by semi-finals and the final was played on Saturday December 16th between India and Pakistan.
The Pakistan team lifted the World Cup after beating India by six wickets.
I confess to not knowing much about this genre of cricket. I understand the ball rattles, it is bowled under-hand and the batsmen sweep it across the playground. Otherwise, the scene is unmistakably of a cricket ground and the players every bit look and act like cricketers.
Here are some interesting facts picked from The News which provided good coverage, probably because the Jang Group and Geo TV were among the major sponsors of the event:
- ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œPakistani (Blind) fielders exhibited outstanding work as six Indian batsmen were run out.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? Any such feat or expectation from the sighted team?
- PakistanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s entire winning team received Rs. 200,000 as WIN BONUS. All the best players (of the tournament?) in their categories were awarded $200 each. What modest players and team winning the World Cup and settling for a fraction of the sighted teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s largesse.
- Scores of 360, over 200 etc. were made in several matches.
- Pakistan set FIVE World Records during a 10 wicket victory against New Zealand team.
We all know what fortunes are made when just one sighted player breaks World Records. Here a blind team set 5 new records and nothing moved in their favour. Is it discrimination against the visually challenged, or what??? One wonders, also, what incentives are provided to our women cricketers?