Persons with visual impairment were intitiated into cricket through radio commentary. In the 1970s, blind people were seen hit by the cricket virus, and playing with empty tins as the ball and sticks as the bat. This was the beginning of the audio game.
With the passing of time the sticks changed to bats and tins changed into audio balls. The National Institute For The Visually disabled developed the ball (hard plastic ball with ball bearings inside) that is in use today. A team from Australia visited New Delhi and played a couple of matches with the Blind Relief Association in the early 1980s. A team from Sri Lanka visited Gujarat in the mid 1980s. A team from Bangalore visited England around the same time.
View profiles of famous cricketers
View profiles of famous atheletics
In 1988, the Annual Gujarat Cup was started. Teams from all over Gujarat participated in this tournament. In 1990, Challenge Cup Tournaments were initiated by a voluntary organisation called SCORE (Society for Communication and Research), where teams from all over the country participated.
Blind people have taken to the sport in a big way all over the world. But, in India, it is more than just a sport for them. In a country where cricket has been elevated to the status of a religion, it provides them with recreation and helps build their confidence. On the cricket field, they learn about leadership, discipline, will power and initiative. Cricket projects blind people as positive and active human beings with emotions, capabilities and ambitions, thus fostering social integration.
View details of the five-match Indo-Pak Petro Cup one-day cricket series held from April 28-May 5 in New Delhi, India.
How the game is played
The game is played with an audio ball made of hard plastic and filled with tiny ball bearings
Bowling is underarm and the ball has to pitch once before the mid pitch
The bowler gives an audio clue before bowling and the batsmen gives an audio clue when he is ready
The wickets are screwed together to ensure they are aligned
The boundaries are 45 yards from the pitch
A team comprises 11 players
The team and players
A match is played between two teams of 11 players comprising a minimum of 4 totally blind players (B1’s), 3 partially blind players (B2’s) and a maximum of 4 partially sighted players (B3’s).
B1: No light perception in either eye up to light perception, but inability to recognise shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction.
B2: From ability to recognise the shape of the hand up to a visual acuity of 2/60 or visual field of less than five degrees in the better eye after correction.
B3: From visual acuity above 2/60 up to visual acuity of 6/60 or a visual field of less than 20 degrees in the better eye after correction.
The B1 players will be distinguished on the field by a Blue Wrist Band to Be worn on the right wrist may also be used.
The B2 players will be distinguished on the field by a Red Arm Band to be worn on the left arm. One or Two stripes on the upper arm may also be used.
The B3 players will be distinguished on the field by an Orange Arm Band to be worn on the left arm. Three stripes on the upper arm may also be used.
The composition of the team throughout the match will be as per the ratio of the three categories mentioned above. While nominating the team of 11 players before the toss, 12th man in each of the three categories is also to be announced.
The captains must ensure that the list of 11 players playing the match clearly indicating whether totally/partially blind or partially sighted is handed over to the organisers well before the toss. Along with this list 12th man in each category of player will also be indicated.
Batting order: In every cycle of three in a batting order, one player from each category is to be played.
Substitutes and runners
A B1 batsman shall have a runner and a B2 batsman has the option of a runner. However, a batsman who has opted for a runner cannot act as runner for another batsman.
A runner is allowed to be changed only if all the other players are out.
All other rules pertaining to the runner as spelt out in the MCC rules of cricket would be applicable.
When a Batsman is at the Striker’s end his Runner must not stand closer than ten feet to the batting crease.
The fielding Captain may ask the Runner to stand on the other side of the pitch if necessary.
If a B1 fielder goes off the field, he can be substituted only by a B1 fielder.
A B2 fielder can be substituted by a B2 or a B1 fielder.
A B3 fielder can be substituted by a B1/B2 or a B3 fielder.
A fielder who goes off the field, on his return can bowl only after he has been on the field for the number of overs, he had been off the field.
THe ball that is approved by the World Blind Cricket Council shall be used in all international matches.
The regular cricket bat to be used with standard specifications.
All International matches will be played on a surface mutually agreeable to the participating teams. Preference of the W.B.C.C. is always turf or synthetic grass surfaces.
The middle of the pitch has to be clearly marked with a line across.
Lines shall be drawn to make an area, which measures ten feet from the middle stump at each end. The line will be drawn at each batting end on leg side and off side. This line is so marked to indicate where the Runner shall stand.
The pitch is 22 yards long and 3 yards wide.
Wide ball markings are made at both ends of the pitch on either side of the wickets at a distance of 2 feet from the outside of the leg and off stumps.
Each wicket shall consist of three tubular stumps (either metal, plastic, or wood). The colour of the wickets shall be fluorescent orange or yellow.
The game could be of limited overs as determined by the organising committee, and of single innings a side or of two innings a side, depending on the type of match.
All runs scored off the bat by a B1 batsman shall be doubled and will be credited to the batsman.
A "one bounce" catch by a B1 player will result in the batsman being given out.
No fielder shall dive, or lie down until the batsman has played a stroke or the ball has passed the batsman.
Violation of any of the amendments to Law 41 will result in a no ball.
A B1 player may also wear gloves and helmet while fielding.
A batsman can be out in all the ways as laid down in the MCC rules of cricket. The batsman can be given out if he is bowled, caught, lbw, stumped, run out, hit wicket, handling the ball, double hitting, obstructing the field, timed out.
Sponsors: over the years
We are extremely grateful for the whole-hearted support of our sponsors which have included: Tata Steel, Brooke Bond India, Titan Watches, Kirloskar Electricals, Lipton India, Parle Bottling, Colgate-Palmoliv India, Coca Cola India, Hero Honda, Action Shoes, Eicher Motors, Airtel, Shell India and HSBC.