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June 4, 2013
Cricketers United in support for the visually impaired

by Hemanta Kafle Senior Sub editor/ Senior Reporter Annapurna Post
KATHMANDU, June 4, 2013 - Nepalese cricket team captain Paras Khadka found himself in an unfamiliar territory at the home Ground in Kathmandu.
He was leading CAN XI team consisting of national players with their eyes blindfolded against a blindfolded corporate team including employees of Civil Bank and UNICEF.

To the amazement of those present at the ground, he bowled six consecutive wide balls and despite the awful performance he was all smiles when he came out of the field as his team won the match by eight wickets.
“I had never imagined playing cricket could be so difficult,” captain of the national cricket team Khadka said after the exhibition match.

The match was organised by Cricket Association of the Blind (CAB) and National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN) in association with UNICEF Nepal to mark the 14th general assembly of NFDN.

“Hats off to these players who play so well despite their disability. Putting myself in their shoes has opened my eyes as to how difficult life is for them.”

Blind cricket is similar to cricket with a few adjustments made to aid the players.

According to Pawan Ghimire, president of CAB, cricket for the blind has shorter bat, shorter gloves and a shorter pitch.

Likewise, the ball has small chains inside it like the ones in the bicycle. “The sound of the ball provides the visually impaired players
clue as to where the ball is,” said Ghimire.

Rest of the rules are the same as in the normal cricket. The players are divided into three categories -B1, B2 and B3. B1 are fully blind players while B2 can see around two metres and B3 have visibility upto 20 metres. As per the rule there must be at least four B1 players and not more than four B3 players in a team.

Likewise, visually impaired women’s played a match in which Kaski team defeated Lumbini by four wickets. Nepal have achieved tremendous success in the visually impaired game with the differently-abled players participation in the World Cup held in India in December where they beat mighty Bangladesh.

Nepal had also grabbed the attention of the world by fielding women cricketers in the team. Two of those cricketers--Bhagwati Bhattarai and Rupa Balal--were also playing on Monday, but from separate teams.

Balal, 21, a B1 player said: “Playing cricket has inspired me to be more confident and ambitious and given me a good outlet to display my talent as well.”

Former captain of women’s team Neera Rajopadhyay who had fielded at short
fine leg was left looking for the ball which missed her by inches.

“Judging by the sound of the ball I had detected that it was near by and had even taken a few steps but to no avail. These visually impaired cricketers need more help than us as their needs are different,’ said Rajopadhyaya.
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