What is Blind Cricket? Origin, History, Rules, Equipment, Tournament, Records & More

A version of cricket designed for players who are blind or partially sighted is called blind cricket. The World Blind Cricket Council has overseen it.
What is Blind Cricket? Check All Details Here
What is Blind Cricket? Check All Details Here

A version of cricket designed for players who are blind or partially sighted is called "blind cricket." Since 1996, it has been overseen by the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC). Also, five Blind World Cups have been held to date in various locations around the globe.

Recently, India emerged as the winner of T20 Blind Cricket for the third time consecutively.

History

Two blind factory workers in Melbourne created the game of "blind cricket" in 1922 using a tin can filled with rocks. Soon after, in 1922, the Victorian Blind Cricket Association was established, and the first sports facility and clubhouse for blind cricket were constructed in Kooyong, Melbourne, in 1928.

Origin

Pakistan and South Africa competed in the first-ever Test Cricket game for the Blind, which was won by Pakistan by a score of 94 runs.

Pakistan won the following two BCWCs in a row, defeating South Africa and India in the finals in 2002 and 2006, while South Africa won the first BCWC in 1998 by defeating Pakistan in the finals. India defeated two-time champion Pakistan to claim the title in 2014.

Equipment

  • The playing area is the same size as a regular cricket field. The distance between the boundaries and the center circle should be at least 45 and no more than 50 yards.
  • The ball, which is significantly larger than a standard cricket ball and filled with ball bearings to provide audible cues, is the most significant adaptation in terms of playing equipment. Players who are partially sighted can see the ball due to its size, and players who are blind can hear it due to its contents.
  • The wicket (stumps), which is made of metal tubes painted in fluorescent colors, is also bigger so that blind players can touch it, and partially sighted players can see it so that they can properly orient themselves when batting or bowling.

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Rules

  • With a few crucial modifications, blind cricket laws are based on traditional cricket laws.
  • The rules regarding team composition are quite strict because a team consists of players who are blind, partially blind, and partially sighted. A maximum of four partially sighted players are permitted per team, but a minimum of three partially blind players are required per team. A team must have a minimum of four players who are totally blind.
  • A totally blind player cannot be declared out by stumping, will only be declared out if they are twice LBW, and will also be declared out if they catch the ball in one bounce.
  • Verbal cues are frequently used by players and umpires alike; the bowler must shout "Play!" as soon as he releases the ball. When bowled to a batsman who is completely blind, the delivery must pitch at least twice (once when bowled to a batsman who is partially sighted), but it cannot roll.
  • Batsmen who are completely blind cannot be dismissed by being stumped; instead, they must be given out twice for LBW. Fielders who are completely blind are permitted to take a catch on the bounce.

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Tournaments

The two main tournaments held under Blind Cricket are a world cup for the ODI format and a world cup for the T20 format. The three-game formats popularised are the 40-over game, which is equivalent to the ODI, the three-day game, which is equivalent to Tests, and the T20 game.

Five world cups have been hosted by the association in the history of blind cricket. The inaugural World Cup was held in New Delhi in 1998. South Africa defeated Pakistan in the championship match after a fiercely contested match between South Africa and Pakistan in the final. 

Chennai, a city in southern India, hosted the second iteration of the competition. The same two teams made it to the championship game, and Pakistan defeated South Africa this time. The third World Cup, which was held in Pakistan, saw Pakistan maintain its dominance. They defeated India in the decisive game.

After an eight-year hiatus, the championship was held for the fourth time in 2014. India demonstrated their superiority by defeating the champions Pakistan in the match's final, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa. In the fifth iteration of the competition in 2018, the Indian team won twice, both times against the same opponent at a neutral site in Sharjah.

In addition to 40 Overs cricket games, T20 cricket matches have also featured blind cricket. The association organized three T20 World Cups, which took place in Bangalore in 2012, 2017, and 2022. India ultimately won the competition all three years.

How is a Blind Cricket Played?

Blind cricket is played with similar rules to the traditional game. The conventional set of rules has undergone a few modifications in order to make the game accessible to players who are blind or visually impaired.

For instance, a bowler is only permitted to bowl underarm. Before the delivery can get to the batsman, it must pitch twice. In blind cricket, the batsman typically employs a sweep shot to maximize the likelihood that the bat will connect with the ball.

When the bowler is prepared to throw, he says "ready," and the batsman responds with a "yes," as per the verbal signal protocol. The bowler is advised to say "play" to the batsman while delivering the ball. A delivery will be ruled a no-ball by the umpire if this is not done. If the umpire thinks the "play" was initiated too early or too late, he has the authority to declare any ball a no-ball.

Notably, the WBCC (World Blind Cricket Council), which was founded in 1996, promotes and controls blind cricket internationally. They are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies, and Nepal, making up its ten full members.

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