Brian Lara and Smriti Mandhana join hands to champion Women’s National Cricket Tournament for Blind

In an effort to promote equality and parity, Cricket Association for Blind in India (CABI) has taken the initiative to organize Blind Cricket Nationals for Women in association with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.

With India’s marquee women’s cricketer Smriti Mandhana championing the cause, CABI hopes to nurture the dreams and aspirations of talented women’s cricketers and mould them into role models for the future generation. CABI are also looking for support from BCCI and they have recently met BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Joint Secretary Jayesh George in this regard.

The tournament, named Samarthanam Women’s National Cricket Tournament for Blind 2019, will be held in T20 format from December 16-19in New Delhi and has the full support of the legendary Brian Lara. “Disability should not be a considered a hindrance to achieving one’s goals. I thoroughly appreciate this fantastic initiative taken by CABI and Samarthanam Trust in India and I am convinced that if such strong stakeholders come together around the world, then there is no reason why blind cricket will not see a growth world over. Such competitions will also provide a platform to such talented women and empower them.” said the West Indian great.

Seven teams representing the states of Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha & West Bengal will fight it out in the league stages over the first two days spread over three venues in Siri Fort Sports Complex, DDA Sports Complex in Saket and Jamia Milia University followed by the grand finale at Siri Fort Sports Complex on December 19.

“Women’s cricket was in the pipeline for the last 10 years as we believe they have equal rights to play. After Samarthanam was given full responsibility of CABI in 2010, we immediately started acting upon the idea and we are extremely proud that we could implement that dream finally,” said Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar, Founder and Managing Trustee, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled and President, CABI and also President of World Blind Cricket.

“We saw immense potential among the players not only sports wise but also as a medium to empower them; give them a voice and a platform to express their talent. Since the discussions have been on there has been tremendous interest and spirit among the girls and I am confident that this Women’s Nationals will go a long way in inspiring girls from across the nation,” Shailender Yadav, North Zone Secretary, Cricket Association for the Blind.

Having played CABI-organized bilateral series, Odisha remains one of the strongest contingents among the seven teams. Mentored by Odisha-born Md. Iqbal Jaffar, who has been a World Cup winning Blind cricket player, Odisha will go all out to create history in the inaugural edition of this tournament. Delhi remains another strong contender with 60 girls having had the experience of playing for the state, out of which 16 have been selected to represent the team in the upcoming Nationals.

Having created a setup for the men’s blind cricket in India and world over CABI now aims to look for every means to help women’s cricket grow. For that, they are also looking out for women leaders from as many fields as possible who are passionate fans and can take women’s cricket to even greater heights in the near future.

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