2010-02-04 / Sports

Blind Cricket Gets A Well Received Demonstration

By Jerry Del Priore

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer (or futbol as it is known almost everywhere else) and continues to grow in the U.S.

Making the sport more inclusive worldwide, Cricket for Change — a United Kingdom-based non-profit organization that uses cricket as a vehicle for developing the confidence and aspirations of young people — has developed a version of the game for the blind and visually impaired.

In conjunction with the USA Cricket Association, Cricket for Change had a practical demonstration of Blind Cricket at the New York Indoor Cricket Club, just north of Canarsie, last Sunday.

To adapt the game for players who are visually impaired or completely blind, a plastic ball with small ball bearings in it in order for the batter to hear the approaching projectile is used.

Also, the bowler tosses the ball underarm, instead of overhand, making it easier for the batsperson to hit it. Additionally, the bowler must ask the batsman if he/she is ready and once the batsperson replies, “Yes,” the bowler responds, “Play,” alerting the batsmen of the ball’s pending approach.

The manager of New York Indoor Cricket Club, Mohammed Shefique, said cricket grassroots efforts, such as the one that took place Sunday and drew over 100 people, “would help the sport take seed in this country.” However, he believes U.S. advertising dollars will take the game to the next level.

“Once it gets the sponsorships from the companies, this game is going to boost up,” Shefique said. “Right now, they’re working on its root basis.”

Cricket for Change President Phil Tufnell, who couldn’t attend the event, was confident his charity would do a wonderful job in New York and feels the sport has a future in the America.

“Our development team will do some brilliant work overseas, and this will be about the 10th country we have introduced Blind Cricket into,” Tufnell said on the foundation’s website.

Cricket for Change has developed Blind Cricket programs in many other regions around the globe, including Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

For more information on Cricket for Change and the New York Indoor Cricket Club at 338 East 88th Street, Brooklyn, log onto www.cricketforchange.org.uk and www.newyorkindoorcricket. com.

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