New Delhi: There is something common between 2 April and 25 June. On both these days Indian cricketers made their country proud by winning the World Cup, one in 1983, and the other in 2011. These are the dates whose memories are etched in every Indian cricket fan's mind forever.
But just recently, on 20 January 2018, the Indian blind cricket team entered the record books by winning the World Cup for the second time, and not many know about their achievement, forget about remembering the date.
In the finals of the blind world cup, the Indian team defeated Pakistan and took the cup. After being set a stiff target of 308 in 40 overs, the Indians managed to go past the finish line in 39 overs, riding on a brilliant 93-run innings by Sunil Ramesh and skipper Ajay Kumar Reddy's 62 runs.
Talking to Cricketnext, coach of the Indian team, John David, and President of Cricket Association for Blind in India (CABI), G Mahantesh lauded the efforts of the boys and did not hesitate from calling the team the best in the world. What made the win even more special for the team was that the title came after beating Pakistan.
"It was a wonderful experience as India was unbeaten in the whole tournament. Our boys played superbly well and took the cup, so the whole tournament was really great. It is always good to see the match between India and Pakistan. We have always managed to beat them in the finals of the big events. But having said that, it wasn't a new thing for us. Talking about the match, it was pretty good one for us. We chased over 300 with one over to spare. It wasn't easy for us though."
"Indian team is certainly the best in the world as we have won two T20 world cups, and two 40 over world cups, and one Asian cup as well. So we are the country who have won all the international championships. So India is certainly no 1 in all the formats of blind cricket," an elated John David said.
After such a good showing in the World Cup, one would expect prizes to pour in for the players and support staff from every corner, but that has not been the case. Only Karnataka government has come forward, and shown some support to the blind team, by announcing a cash reward of Rs 2 Lakh to the local players.
"We are waiting for such announcements to be made. We can only hope for them to come soon. Till now the Karnataka government has come announced cash prize for local players," John added.
The situation is such even after Sachin Tendulkar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about the blind cricket team winning the World Cup. Without taking a dig at anyone, John said,
"Sachin and PM Modi tweeting about us is a great feeling for us. We have met Sachin twice and it's always great to meet him. He supports blind cricket, and so does the PM. But we need more support."
The blind cricket team has always brought laurels for the country, and are hoping that they come under the umbrella of BCCI, that will help them grow the sport further in the country. For that they have a meeting scheduled with Rajiv Shukla, commissioner of IPL. As Mahantesh puts it, one of the keys points of discussion will be to start a league for blind cricketers, on the lines of IPL.
"CABI is an independent body and we do not come under BCCI. It is important for us to be a part of BCCI. Their patronage is very crucial at this point of time. BCCI has the capability to take care us. There are many cricket boards in the world that support their blind cricket teams, like Cricket Australia, PCB. In fact I met ICC head Dave Richardson who is willing to extend support to the cause of blind cricket. Also BCCI can help take the game forward, and help us spread the game to every visually impaired person in the country.
"We are going to meet Rajeev Shukla, who is the commissioner of IPL. So we seek help from him start a league of our own, like the IPL," Mahantesh concluded.