Disability cricket reaches new heights

Some had no arms or legs, while others had no control of their limbs, but they took to the field at Dhaka University’s Jagannath Hall to put on extraordinary exhibitions of cricketing skill and prowess.

Suliman Niloybdnews24.com
Published : 20 Dec 2017, 05:51 AM
Updated : 20 Dec 2017, 07:51 AM

Two matches for the ICRC T20 Cricket Tournament for People with Physical Disabilities were played at the venue on Tuesday.

The Gazipur Glorious Disable Cricket Club batted first, posting a score of 99-5 at the end of the 20 overs. But their opponents, Dhaka’s CRP Physically Challenged Cricket Team, took the win, reaching the target with seven wickets to spare.

Man of the Match went to CRP wicketkeeper Shareef, who stumped two batsmen and scored a handy 30 runs with the bat.

In the second match, the Bangladesh Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged or BCAPC scored a colossal 198-8. Though they gave valiant chase, Dhaka’s ARDRID Physically Challenged Cricket Team scored 104-9. BCAPC’s Javed was declared Man of the Match.

Brahmanbaria’s Sheikh Mohammad Shafiqul Islam was cheering from the stands. He had lost a leg in a road accident in fourth grade.

But Shafiqul was undaunted by his circumstances. He had always loved cricket and he vowed to continue to pursue this passion, whatever the situation.

He began playing with his friends and eventually moved from matches in his neighbourhood to matches in school, then college, then the Upazila and the district level.

He eventually clinched a place on Brahmanbaria’s Dream for Disability Foundation Physical Challenge Cricket Team. In April of this year he went to India to play wheelchair cricket and was declared Man of the Match in the final after his team took the series.

Shafiqul did not neglect his studies while pursuing his dreams. He completed his secondary and higher secondary education at Champaknagar School and College in Brahmanbaria’s Bijoynagar before completing his undergraduate from Brahmanbaria Government College and his postgraduate from Comilla Victoria College.

“No person with disabilities should ever feel inadequate,” he told bdnews24.com. “They can play if they try.”

“I think we can now provide a platform for those with physical disabilities.”

Shafiqul, who worked at an NGO for two years, is now running his own business.

The International Committee for the Red Cross began working on disability cricket in 2013 by helping the CRP to form a team of physically disabled persons.

It was difficult to find 11 players at the time, said Md Mahfuzur Rahman, assistant manager of the project.

“An Indian team came to help us with team formation and played a Friendship Tournament. We began to seriously work on disability cricket after that.”

“Cricket is a beloved sport in Bangladesh. Everyone wants to watch, everyone wants to play. And people with disabilities can regain their confidence when they take part.”

“And now we have organised this tournament. Players for the national level will be selected from among those in this competition.”

Six teams are participating in the tournament. Each team has 15 members, for a total of 90 players.

“Three years ago it was difficult to form one team, but now we have six,” said Mahfuzur.

“People are curious. The physically disabled and their guardians are interested. They want to know where their children can receive training and how they can get on the national team.” 

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher