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India Divyang Cricket team strike an upbeat note ahead of 1st T20 Physically Disabled Cricket World Series

The India Divyang Cricket Team left for England for the first ever T20 Physically Disabled Cricket World Series early this morning. Ahead of their departure the team struck a confident note as they get set to make their mark on the world stage.

The Vikrant Keni-led India Divyang Team left for England early this morning, over a week ahead of the first ever T20 Physically Disabled Cricket World Series. The first match is scheduled against England on 6 August and the Indian side wants to play a few games there to get used to the weather conditions.

The Indian team will be based in Yorkshire where the first round of three matches will be played. The team was earlier scheduled to face off Bangladesh, but the itinerary has changed, and India are up against England, an experienced side with the home advantage.

The Indian players have been training intensively for the series. A series of training camps were held at Mumbai and Shegaon, Akola, with Head Coach Sulakshan Kulkarni paying close attention to every aspect - batting, bowling and most crucially, footwork.

We have prepared well for the series and have been training as per the schedule. We have been put through the paces in every aspect under Kulkarni sir and we are feeling confident of our chances. After the camps, we are feeling even more sure of our game. - Vikrant Keni, Captain, India Divyang Team

This is the first time that Kulkarni, who has coached Mumbai up to its 40th Ranji Trophy title in 2012-13 has trained with the disabled cricket team. Speaking to a newspaper he praised the team's discipline, attitude and hunger to perform. "They have enough talent and require no sympathy. These guys are extremely fearless and mentally very strong".

The other countries taking part in the world series tournament are Afghanistan, England, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. The tournament is being hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Historic moment

Among the promising players in the 16-member Indian squad is middle leg spinner Ramesh Naidu. Ramesh, who has a disability in his right leg and hands says he is thrilled to be a part of such a historic series.

Ramesh started playing cricket in childhood with a tennis ball and it was only in college that he started playing with a cricket ball. A hugely talented bowler, he played along with non disabled players in the Tamil Nadu cricket team and switched to disabled cricket after his coach encouraged him to.

"Today I am remembering my dad a lot because he is the one who motivated me", says Ramesh, who is studying at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) . "As a child when I would go to the field to play, everyone would turn me away. When I told my dad about my interest in the game, he took me to the ground and made sure I played". He also credits his benefactor Dr Suman for supporting him with finances.

Ramesh, who considers former India cricket captain Rahul Dravid an inspiration, on and off the field, says playing for India is a childhood dream. "I will do my best and through my example I want to motivate other disabled people".

England and Afghanistan are the teams that stand to give India a tough time in the tournament given their vast experience. But Vikrant is confident the side will not let the country down. He is well aware of the significance of the series. "It feels great to represent India and that too in England, which is the land of cricket. I feel both excited and honoured today".

ALSO READ:India Divyang Cricket Team is raring to make its mark in first ever world series

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