Playing blind cricket means the world to para cricketer & teacher Rajanish Henry
38-year-old Rajanish Henry, a visually impaired cricketer from Kozhikode, Kerala, is also a teacher. In My Take he talks about how he kept his passion for cricket alive even after losing his vision as child.
Since childhood, I have been a major fan of cricket. I was five when I lost my vision due to weak nerves. By the time it was diagnosed, it was too late to do anything. My biggest regret at the time was that I wouldn’t be able to play cricket anymore.
I attended various blind schools at Palakkad and Kottayam and completed a master’s degree in English and a B.Ed too. All the while, cricket remained my heart and soul.
Even at blind school, all the students would get together and play cricket though resources were limited. At the time there was no concept of blind cricket. So we played regular cricket. Our schools did not have any exclusive blind cricket coaching either because there was no awareness about para sports.
Not authorities encouraged us either. But we played cricket in our own way and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, cricket was my world. I used to play with plastic balls and enjoy the game by listening to the commentary, In 1991 blind cricket was introduced in India and that remains one of para cricket’s greatest achievements.
My family has always been supportive but initially they were not happy with the idea as they were not sure how cricket would work out for me. Now, they are really happy.
How cricket inspired me
Even as a child, I had dreams of becoming a cricketer. World cricket has helped me a lot in overcoming the pain of my blindness. Cricket was my world, it meant everything to me. Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting are my favourite players and the glamour of the sport and star value of players still leaves me awed. I get the same feel when I play cricket and gets appreciated. The sport has instilled confidence in me.
Moreover, cricket helped me study better, become confident and learn the English language too. Many cricketers from Kerala who are currently part of the Ranji Trophy team are my friends. We grew up playing cricket together. That has helped me know more about the game. I played for Kerala’s blind cricket team for 14 years.
I was part of India’s A team and South zone team as well.
Blind cricket needs recognition
Unfortunately, blind cricket is still not fully recognised across India. We are striving to bring that to the forefront. In 2018, the Nagesh Trophy for Blind was introduced and it was a great start. But there must be more tournaments. There must be different ways to promote our game.
More than everything else, we want to hold more tournaments so that people will come and watch us perform.
“Our players and their game must be recognised. Most of the people do not even know about blind cricket. We hope this will change for the good in days to come”.
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