Blind cricket association seeks BCCI support

Published: Sunday, April 24, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Cricket diplomacy has worked perfectly in improving Indo-Pak relations so far but the Association for Cricket for Blind in India is finding it difficult to move the process forward without the support of Indian Cricket Board.

The Pakistan team of blind cricketers would be arriving in India to play a reciprocal five-match limited overs series from April 28 and ACBI would be on their own to manage the whole tournament.

"When we went to Pakistan in February last year, we were given a warm welcome. Since it was the time when there were apprehensions about security before the Indo-Pak series, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan, and then PCB Chief Executive Rameez Raja, came to welcome us," ACBI Chairman George Abraham, said.

"They also honoured us at the Pakistan Cricket Academy, invited us to play at the prestigious Gaddafi Stadium along side their star cricketers like Shoaib Akhtar, and Pakistan TV covered the matches live," he added.

"The PCB was very helpful by making all arrangements for us."

But, Abraham said, it was completely a different picture here as the Cricket Board had no time for them.

"I did try to talk to BCCI Secretary S K Nair, but he said he was very busy. The BCCI does not recognise us," he said informing that the International Cricket Council recently gave recognition to the World Blind Cricket Council.

Abraham said the whole movement had started when Jagmohan Dalmiya had newly taken over as BCCI President but he did not think it was cricket and remained indifferent to them.

"Dalmiya did not think it was cricket... Though the Cricket Boards in most countries are now aiding the cause of blind cricketers, we are struggling to survive," the ACBI Chairman said.

"They (BCCI) are funding programmes like cataract and eye donations but do not respond to the blind cricketers. In 2001, when Bangladesh played Test series against India, their Board invited us to give half an hour demonstration of our game during the break of the first Test," Abraham said insisting that other countries were quite keen on this kind of cricket as well.

On any of ACBI's plans to play a series with other countries as well ahead of the 2006 World Cup to be held in Cape Town in South Africa, Abraham said he could make many plans on paper but it would be difficult to get resources.

"We are looking at home or away series with Sri Lanka in November this year and with England in the summer of 2006. As far as visiting England is concerned, resources would be a big problem since we are also scheduled to participate in the World Cup in October later next year," he said.

"We are looking at airlines sponsoring our travelling expenses," he said.

The first two editions of the World Cup cricket for blinds was hosted by India.

"Our major objective behind organising international tournaments is media exposure which could help us linking the game with mainstream cricket," he admitted.

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