Two-time World Cup winner special team needs urgent attention of govt

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By Vincent David

ISLAMABAD, Nov 13 (APP): Pakistan blind cricket team a two-time World Cup winner who exhibited an excellent performance in the game despite their handicap badly needs attention of government.
Still gets nothing to pay more than a total of Rs 12,000 to its A category centrally contracted players making it difficult for the blind cricketers to play-for is in dire need of patronization by all the concerned quarters including Pakistan Cricket Board.
The green shirts who also lack a facility of their own at home at the moment have numerous records in their kitty 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 eight 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).
Talking to APP, Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) Chairman Syed Sultan Shah said, “We get an annual budget of Rupees 18.1 million from PCB through which we pay salaries to officials, central contracts to players and hold tournaments.”
Last month the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced pay hikes to 10 percent in the players’ central contracts but the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) which acquires its annual budget from the board gets not enough from the PCB to increase its players’ central contracts, he said.
“Our national cricket team which has won the World Cup 1992 and World Twenty20 in 2009 has a variety of stadiums and grounds in the country to train-in, but, our national blind cricket team which has brought two consecutive One Day World Cups home in 2002 and in 2006 has no permanent ground where they could prepare for next year’s World Cup to be held in January in India”, he lamented.
However, after timeless struggle the PBCC’s first-ever cricket stadium for the visually impaired players would be completed in Lahore till next year but as for now they have to run from pillar to post to prepare for the World Cup next year, he maintained.
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.
“If not Rs 50,000 then at least Rs 35,000 should be paid to A category player,” he said.
Razzaq said, “Our players perform with all their might in the game but when they think about how to run their homes with the money they get, it makes them depressed and disappointed.”
The money, central contracts or match fees etc should be given according to 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.
Former captain Zeeshan Abbasi said the blind cricketers’ needed 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 yet. At least blind cricketers should be provided jobs to earn for a living, he said requesting the government to help the blind cricketers in this regard.
Meanwhile, to add more flair to the next year’s Blind Cricket World Cup, from the Pakistan side, the PBCC will be supplying a total of 200 to 250 balls for the mega event.
The PBCC acquires its manufacturing services from a Lahore-based factory named Akram Goods Plastic owned by Muhammad Akram. The ball weighs 82 to 85 grams as to meet the international standards, has 7mm thickness and 17 ball bearings inserted in it to produce sound at the time when it is rolled down on to the field during bowling.
Pakistan Blind cricket team definitely needs attention of the higher authorities in the shape of a stadium and finances, otherwise, it would fade like other games did in which Pakistan had ruled the world.