Feature by Vincent David
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani manufactured plastic balls are set to be used for the first time in the forthcoming Blind Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held in South Africa in November this year, thus adding another feather in its cap of being the sports goods producing country.
Pakistan, a two time winner of the mega event, would land at Cape Town with high hopes for clinching another World Cup in November. A Lahore based cricket ball manufacturing factory would be dispatching a consignment order of 2,000 cricket balls for the third edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup.
Talking to APP, the proud owner of the factory, Muhammad Akram said, it is a big honor for the country that we have made a cricket ball which is liked by the blind cricketers across the globe. “After a thorough research, I produced a white ball lesser in weight fulfilling the requirement of the blind cricketers,” he said.
The owner said, the ball weighs 82 to 85 grams, has 7mm thickness and 17 ball bearings inserted in it to produce voice at the time when it is rolled down during bowling.
Akram pointed out that the Pakistan made balls will make the country a part of blind cricket cup history besides enhancing its image worldwide.
“The most important fact that we considered in manufacturing this ball was that it shouldn’t be having a bounce on the field,” he said. Akram said, he got the order for the balls from World Blind Cricket Association (WBCC), President, Syed Sultan Shah who is also the Chairman of the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council.
“The Pakistan made ball was presented in the Annual General Council Meeting of WBCC which was then approved on the basis of quality and merit,” he said.
The green-shirts have numerous records in their kitty in the World of Blind Cricket including the highest score by an individual blind player, Masood Jaan 262 against South Africa at Delhi in 1998 which was also the national blind team’s highest score of 376.
Ashraf Bhatti’s fastest century on 37 balls against New Zealand at Delhi in 1998 and Abdul Razzaq’s fastest fifty on 17 balls against Australia at Delhi in 1998.
Moreover, in the very first Test match, the Pakistan team scored 721 runs for the loss of 8 wickets against South Africa in 2000. Pakistan Blind Cricket team holds the record to reach in the final of all the three editions of Blind Cricket World Cups (One Day Cricket).
However where there are achievements from the Pakistan side in Blind Cricket, there are also many difficulties faced by these players in the game.
Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced pay hikes in the players’ central contracts besides increase in match fees but the PBCC which acquires its annual budget from the board gets nothing more from the board to increase its players’ central contracts.
Pakistan Blind Cricket Team which has been a consistent triumphant in the game more than our national cricket team still gets nothing to pay more than a total of Rs 12,000 to its
A category players making it difficult for the blind cricketers to play-for.
Our national blind cricket team which has won two consecutive World Cups in 2002 and 2006 has no permanent ground where they could make preparations for this year’s World Cup. Even though the PBCC has got 45 kanals of land at Ferozepur, Lahore but doesn’t have anybody to help them build a stadium and hostel for these cricketers.
Former Pakistan Blind Cricket Team Captain Abdul Razzaq said at least the blind cricketers should be provided central contracts equivalent to the women cricketers which is up to Rs 50,000. “As a cricket team we have achievements more than the other teams which should be seen,” he said.
Razzaq said our players perform with all their might in the game but when they think about how to run their homes from the money they get, it makes them depressed and disappointed.
“The money, central contracts or match fees etc should be given accordingly on performance basis,” he said adding if not to all then at least handsome money based central contracts should be provided to those 30 players who perform best in the game.
Current Captain, Zeeshan Abbasi, who has been awarded with Pride of Performance Award, said the blind cricketers’ need jobs and a way to earn a living. “We have been showing a blasting performance in the game but there is no recognition for us,” he said.Zeeshan said, we deserve a lot but have not gotten till now. “At least blind cricketers should be provided with jobs to earn for a living,” he said requesting the government to help the blind cricketers in this regard.
Pakistan Blind cricket team definitely needs attention of the higher authorities in case of a ground or money otherwise it may fade like our other games did in which we had ruled the world.