India get another shot at World Cup

New Delhi: If you are a disheartened Indian cricket fan still upset about the men in blue being halted by the Kiwis in the semis of the recently concluded World Cup, you have news to be happy. Another Indian Cricket team is headed to England to take a shot at the first ever world title in cricket for the disabled – Physical Disability World Cricket Series.

This 16-man squad team gathered at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Tuesday evening where they spoke to TOI about their struggle.

“I was seven when I underwent my first surgery. I was playing cricket when a ball struck my knee. At first there was excruciating pain. It aggravated and the infection spread to such an extent that doctors said I would be wheelchair-bound if I don’t get more surgeries done. With no option left, I went for it but when I finally started to walk, I realized that my left knee was locked. Even after repeated medical tests, I was told that my disability is permanent. I had to live with it but my passion for cricket was undying. I wanted to keep playing it. And here I am today,” said Wasim (26), who comes from Anantnag in Kashmir.

Fellow Kashmiri Aamir (20) was just 40-days old when he lost his right hand in a fire. The fingers had to amputated. But I still learnt to play cricket with my ‘normal’ friends and did well every time. People recognized my talent and helped me. I was selected in the under – 16 and under – 19 team. Now, I am in the Indian team. I want to do my family and country proud,”. Aamir said.

One of players was bitten by a Cobra and lost 50% ability to move one of his hands; another has no fingers or toes. There are 16 such tales of grit and determination.

“People don’t know about us, but we will love it if they cheer for us like they do for other Indian cricketers. I won the man-of-the-match award in a tournament recently held in Bangladesh,” said Anshul (24) from Delhi. He broke his hip bone when he was a child, but even after several surgeries walks with a dip.

The captain, Vikrant, has been playing with this team for the past six years. “ I hope we get the cup home,” he said.

This hope is rooted in the confidence of all the players in the team that they are second to none. The world cup will be held from August 2 to 14. Other countries that are participating are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and hosts England.

Source: The Times of India