Separate academy for disabled cricketers to be set up in Kolkata with CAB support
For the first time in India, a separate academy for disabled cricketers will be set up. This will be an inclusive academy for blind, deaf and physically disabled cricketers and will be supported by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
At a time when the India’s disabled cricketers are facing hard times during the Covid pandemic, comes some good news from Bengal.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has joined hands with Straight Drive Cricket Academy to develop and nurture disabled cricketers in the state.
Straight Drive Cricket Academy is the brainchild of Suvro Joarder who made history as the first physically disabled cricketer to play for the prestigious Excelsior’s Club in Kolkata. Suvro says his mission is to support and uplift disabled cricketers as well as underprivileged women cricketers.
First inclusive cricket academy
This is a dream project that I have been planning for over three years. Differently abled cricketers don’t get the attention and priority they need, and I wanted to open an academy that reaches out to blind, deaf and physically disabled cricketers in Bengal. The Mayor of Kolkata Firhad Hakim has agreed to allot land for the academy. Funding for the establishment will be provided by the Cricket Association of Bengal. – Suvro Joarder, Founder, Straight Drive Cricket Academy
The CAB wants to work in partnership with Straight Drive Cricket Academy to support cricketers with disabilities. This is one among many steps taken by CAB president Avishek Dalmiya to promote cricket. It was his efforts that led to the success of the Bengal women’s team. Dalmiya had earlier amended the ICC law to allow Suvro to play second division league club cricket after 11 years with a runner.
“We are grateful to Mr Dalmiya for his support”, says Suvro. “He has promised to support differently-abled cricket on personal grounds as well by providing the annual lease amount to be given to the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KDMA). With CAB taking such initiative the future of differently-abled cricket in Bengal looks secure”.
Straight Drive Cricket Academy will start functioning in about four months’ time. There are plans to reach out to nearly 60 disabled cricketers. Alongside the club will conduct coaching for 100-150 children, with and without disabilities.
Jeet Bhowmick has been playing cricket for Kolkata’s disabled cricket team for nine years. “I have been luckier than most other differently abled players as my father has supported me. But that is not true for 90% of cricketers. This is a great initiative as it opens doors for many other disabled players who want to play but lack support”.
“Now we will get benefits like regular cricketers”, says Binay Tirkey, who has been playing for 10 years. “With Straight Drive Cricket Academy, we will get financial support. We deserve this as we play as well if not better than non-disabled cricketers”.
For Biki Singh, who is relatively new to cricket, the news spells more opportunities. “Our future looks better now. We face so many issues when it comes to facilities and struggle for basic things that other cricketers take for granted. Hopefully that will change now”.
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