Home > News >

Cricket only hope for Pakistan’s blind players

© Getty Images
Pakistan is home to almost two million blind people © Getty Images (Representation photo)

Lahore: Mar 14, 2014

Pakistan‘s blind cricket captain Zeeshan Abbasi was once a shy and awkward child who relied on his family and friends to get by in a country where disability is a major stigma.

Growing up in the mountainous northern Ayubia district, his earliest memories are of clutching his mother’s hand as they climbed a winding path to a school where he was never fully accepted.

But having recently led his team to the final of the World Cup and triumph in a series over traditional foe India, he credits cricket with turning his life around.

“If I didn’t play cricket, I would have not enjoyed this status as a national celebrity. My blind friends are unable to do anything and have become a burden for their families,” the 30-year-old said.

Pakistan is home to almost two million blind people, according to the Fred Hollows Foundation, with more than half afflicted due to preventable diseases like cataracts.

They are often forced to deal with societal taboos surrounding disability and have little by the way of government facilities to aid them in public spaces.  Neglected by their families, their education and personality development suffers.

Abbasi recalls how as a child he was punished for not being able to keep up at his first school.

“My teachers did not know how to teach me,” he says.

Realising the youngster’s difficulties, his uncle arranged his admission in a school for blind children in the city of Rawalpindi, where he was introduced to cricket.

“I started playing at the age of 10. Later, myself and a group of friends founded the first ever Islamabad blind cricket club. We used to spend our pocket money to buy the cricket gear,” he recalls.

Even then Abbasi initially faced opposition by his family.

“I was beaten by my parents several times for playing cricket because they thought I was wasting my time and I should study for a better future,” he said.

“Once while practising with normal cricketers, the ball struck my left eye and I lost the little sight I had,” he said, adding his right arm was fractured six times while playing.

Abbasi persevered, finally making his debut as an 18-year-old against South Africa in 2000 and later becoming captain in 2011.

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sri Lanka to look for new coaching staff

MS Dhoni better wicketkeeeper than what he showed at Lord’s: Farokh Engineer

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Hashim Amla lauds Imran Tahir ahead of Sri Lanka vs South Africa second Test at Colombo

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Stuart Binny and the selection conundrum for India’s third Test against England at Southampton

Can America be the ‘Land of Opportunity’ for cricket?

Graham Gooch’s fabulous numbers in all forms of cricket

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Did Lionel Messi really consider moving to Arsenal?

Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor cheat their diets while shooting for Singham Returns!

Malaysia airlines MH 17: Black boxes arrive in Britain for analysis

After Amala Paul, will Nazriya Nazim quit films after marriage?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here