” 25-acre cricketing infrastructure to be set up on the outskirts of Bengaluru ”
The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), which is striving to develop cricket as a professional sport for the visually challenged, today announced its vision to promote the sport in a big way in the next 10 years. CABI plans to organise a routine cricket league, identify and encourage school students and motivate greater number of women, all visually impaired, to take up the sport. Primary among CABI’s various initiatives is to have its own space on a 25-acre plot near Bengaluru. CABI has approached the Government for land and the response has been positive. Initiatives relating to empowering players in securing employment during their cricketing career so that security is ensured for the rest of their life are also on CABI’s agenda. “Cricket for the visually impaired is gaining popularity, and we need support and cooperation from all stakeholders to strengthen the ecosystem. Our primary concern is our own infrastructure to promote this sport. We are hopeful that the various state governments will look into our requests,” Mr. Mahantesh GK, President, CABI and Head of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, the NGO behind cricket for the visually challenged in India, said. In addition, Mr. Mahantesh informed that a good beginning has been made with the Government coming out with a policy announcing cash prize for each player in the World Cup winning team. “Regular financial support and recognition will help the team a lot. We want to extend similar facilities to visually challenged cricket world like mainstream players receive.” Highlighting the ambitious plans put together by CABI, Mr. Mahantesh said, “In order to make this sport for the visually challenged more popular, we are planning a routine cricket league and want to bring more women on to the field. We find them equally enthusiastic and energetic in women’s cricket. We want to support them as well.” CABI recently announced the women’s cricket team comprising visually challenged players. A tournament conducted for them received tremendous response. Further, CABI is concentrating on developing cricket at the school level to nurture visually challenged cricketers at an early stage. “We want to train students from their young age itself so that they can unleash their potentiality, become positive, confident, competitive and grow up to be good players. This decade will be crucial for us to implement our ambitious plans,” Mr. Mahantesh added. Talking about the relationship between CABI & Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Mr. Mahantesh informed that in 2017, BCCI helped CABI get good grounds and players’ endorsements for the World Cup. “After the new Committee has been constituted under the leadership of Saurav Ganguly, they are very keen to constitute a Disability Committee to monitor cricket for the differently abled,” Mr. Mahantesh informed. “Though CABI will continue to remain an independent organisation retaining its identity and entity, it will, however, be affiliated to BCCI and follow some of their guidelines. We will work closely with the BCCI, learn from them and take all the good practices such as their structure and governance, seek timely guidance and enjoy whatever financial, infrastructure support they would like to extend to us,” Mr. Mahantesh said.
CABI is working on creating various programmes to reach out to more people and create an awareness on this sport for visually challenged as much as possible. “Whenever we organise tournaments, we reach out to schools and colleges, both for the visually challenged as well as mainstream institutions, invite them to come to motivate and cheer our players, and also motivate other visually challenged youth to aspire to play the game,” Mr. Mahantesh informed. The date of the finals of the 2nd Nagesh Memorial T20 Cricket tournament for the visually impaired was announced on the occasion. The matches were played in 15 cities with 24 teams participating in it. A total of 59 matches have been played between 24 states in 15 different cities across the country. The tournament started in the North-Eastern city of Agartala. Matches were played in Lucknow, Pune, Bhopal, Kochi, Mysuru, Ludhiana, Ajmer, Faridabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pondicherry. The 24 teams were divided into two divisions (Elite and Plate) of four groups each. Each group consisted of six teams. The tournament has seen a total of 480 players from 24 states. The finals of the 2nd Indusind Nagesh Trophy National T20 cricket tournament for the blind will be held tomorrow, Tuesday (January 21) at 10.00 am at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The honourable guests who will grace the occasion of the final match are Shri Gautham Kumar, Worshipful Mayor, BBMP, Shri P C Mohan, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Bangalore Central, Shri Rajeev Gowda, Hon’ble Rajyasabha Member, Government of India, Mrs. Malini Krishnamurthy, IPS, Additional Director General of Police G & HR, Shri K V Kupparaju, Managing Director Chancery Group of Hotels.
Karnataka and Maharashtra will play against each other in the first semi-final on the morning of January 20, while Haryana will play against Andhra Pradesh in the afternoon in the second semi-final. The semi-final matches will be played at SSE Ground (Samprasiddhi Sports Estadio) Thanisandra near Haj Bhavan.
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