India Divyang Cricket Team is raring to make its mark in first ever world series
The first-ever T20 Physical Disability Cricket World Series will begin in England on 3 August. The Indian team will be looking to make its presence felt on the world stage. .
Virat Kohli and his boys may have been ousted in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup Cricket 2019 tournament that just ended but all hope is not lost for India. India is hungry to make its mark and win the cup at the first ever 6-Nation T20 Physical Disability Cricket World Series that begins in England on 3 August.
Officially called the India Divyang Cricket Team, these cricketers have been chosen by the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (AICPAC), which is a combination of three associations for physically disabled cricketers. The team has the backing of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The AICPAC was founded by the late Indian cricketer Ajit Wadekar to encourage disabled cricketers.
This noble cause was started with the sole purpose of improving the lives of talented disabled cricketers, whose immense love for cricket would give them a chance of displaying their skills in the sport and gain self-confidence. – Ravi Chauhan, Secretary, All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged
India will play its first match on 5 August against Bangladesh followed by a match against Pakistan, which has an experienced team of players. The other countries taking part are England, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. The tournament is being hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board and
Leading the 16-member Indian squad is all-rounder Vikrant Keni. “We have players who are good at batting and bowling so they are all powerful all-rounders”, said Vikrant. He believes that England is the team to watch out for. “They are used to the climate and playing conditions there so I expect them to be tough competitors”.
Two pacers from Punjab have also made it to the side. They are Mandeep Singh and Gurjant Singh, both 25 years old. There are two players from Jammu & Kashmir as well, Wasim Iqbal and Aamir Hassan.
“They all come from very varied backgrounds”, says Pradeep Raj, Media Manager, AICPAC. “One player is a student of the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. They were all chosen at the end of a series of intensive training camps held over months. SO, India is sending its best team and I am confident our chances of winning the cup are high”.
More importantly, the BCCI has come forward to support the team, not financially but in team selection and camps. “Hopefully this will pave the way for BCCI to support the deaf, wheelchair and blind cricket players as well”, hopes Raj. “If not the BCCI, at least the government of India should”.
Wasim, who is looking forward to making his presence felt, hopes this will change his prospects. “I am hoping that after England, the future for disabled cricket will change for the better”.