India triumph at Physical Disability World Cricket Series, will BCCI finally take note?
What Virat and his boys could not do, the India Divyang Cricket Team has done. It beat England comprehensively to emerge winners at the first ever Physical Disability World Cricket Series 2019. Will this finally make the Board of Control for Cricket in India extend full support?
What a proud note to celebrate Independence Day on. The newly formed India Divyang Cricket Team has made history winning the first ever Physical Disability World Series 2019. It beat England in England to lift the trophy at the New Road Stadium in Worcester.
It was a comprehensive win with India dominating right through the game. England was beaten by 36 runs, not a small feat given that they were the favourites.
The man who played the decisive knock for India was Ravindra Sante. India opted to bat first but suffered a setback with opening batsman Wasim Khan out for a duck. Skipper Vikrant Keni stepped in and with Kunal Phanase posted 46 runs, putting India in a stable position.
Sante then went on to score a quick 53 runs off 34 balls and was supported by Suganesh Mahendaran, who made 33 runs. Together they cemented India's position with 7 runs an over and India posted a total of 180 runs.
England could not keep up with the Indian bowlers and was bundled out for 144 runs. Phanase and Sunny Goyat were the star bowlers who took a couple of wickets each.
Vikrant Keni was ecstatic at the win and gave credit to his team. "This is a super team and every players put in great effort and contributed to the win. Every player is exceptional and I am proud to be a part of such a team".
It's been a brilliant all-round performance from the Indian team which played some good cricket throughout the tournament winning every single match leading up to the final. "We have been unbeaten right through and that feels great", said bowler Ramesh Subramanian Naidu. "England is a good team but we outplayed them with batting and fielding".
Ramesh credits coach Sulakshan Kulkarni for India's performance. "Sulakshan sir had a strategy for every team and every player and he analysed every player before the match, checked statistics and ensured that we had a game plan. That gave us an edge".
The selection process was key for the win, believes team media manager Pradeep Raj. There was some controversy over this in the run up to the tournament with allegations of bias raised by some disabled cricket groups.
The selection process we followed was sound and thorough and I hope this win will silence those people who had alleged corruption. We wanted a team that would give us an edge and with a team like this we expected to make a clean sweep. Keni showed great captaincy right through and we are proud that the disabled cricket team has won their first ever international tournament. - Pradeep Raj, Media Manager, All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged
Raj says that the win should now get the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to extend full support to the India Divyang Cricket Team. "We hope the BCCI will support us like they support blind cricket. This time they have supported us partially but we want full support like they extend to women cricketers and the U-19 sides. Now that we have proved ourselves, we should get awards too".
For the moment the players are celebrating. The stadium was filled with disabled cricketers in the Indian jersey holding the Indian flag high and singing the national anthem. "I feel so blessed to be a part of the India team", says Ramesh. "It felt so emotional to wear the Indian jersey and stand for the anthem. We worked very hard for this and gave it our 100%".
The boys in blue are expected to land in Mumbai on 17 August and plans are being made to give them a grand reception.