Fresh from their World Cup triumph, the Cricket Association for Blind in India (CABI) has raised certain demands from the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), chief among them being recognition and support for infrastructural development.
Speaking to mediapersons on Friday, CABI President Mahantesh GK elaborated on “significant discussions” he has had with BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Committee of Administrators (CoA) Chairman Vinod Rai.
“We met on 2 February and the meeting was encouraging, perhaps one of the best meetings we had with BCCI in several years,” he said.
“We would like to have some infrastructural support from BCCI,” the CABI president said.
“We don’t have grounds. During coaching camps, we have to hire grounds, and sometimes have to move from ground to ground. We pay almost Rs 25,000 per day for a ground. Raising such resources is very challenging. We have requested BCCI to allow us to practice in their infrastructure,” Mahantesh said.
He also pitched for financial help for visually-impaired ex-cricketers who have represented the country, besides arranging for regular “interaction and meet and greet sessions” of blind cricketers with the national team.
While blind cricket in India, despite their regular World Cup wins — they have won the World T20 and 40-over World Cup twice, and the Asia Cup once — continues to struggle for survival, things are quite different in other countries.
“Blind cricket associations in England and Pakistan have been fully recognised by their respective cricket boards. The facilities provided to them are same as those being provided to their national teams. Pakistan even has a grading system and the players are classified in A, B and C categories. They are paid monthly salaries and match fees,” Mahantesh informed.
Recently, batting icon Sachin Tendulkar had written to Vinod Rai, proposing to bring CABI under BCCI’s wings and start a pension scheme for blind cricketers. "As we celebrate the fourth consecutive victory of the Indian team in the Blind World Cup, I urge you to consider recognition of Cricket Association for the Blind in India by the BCCI," Tendulkar had written.
The Indian blind cricket team defeated Pakistan to lift the Blind World Cup in Sharjah on 20 January. India chased down the 308-run target with eight balls and two wickets in hand.