Australia supports cricket training for blind women in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD:The six-day cricket training for visually impaired women and girls from across Pakistan, organized by the Australian High Commission in collaboration with the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) and Serena Hotels concluded at Murghzar Cricket Ground Saidpur Islamabad on Monday.

The training builds on Australia’s support to PBCC since 2018 which led to the formation of Pakistan’s first blind women's cricket team. The team played its first international Twenty20 game in the same year.

Speaking at the award-giving ceremony, the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Neil Hawkins said that Australia’s support was aimed at providing opportunities to women and girls with disabilities to compete and demonstrate their ability.

“We hope to break gender stereotypes and negative perceptions associated with people with disabilities through our support of this initiative. Australia and Pakistan share a passion for cricket, so we are happy to support Pakistan

Blind Cricket Council’s efforts to bring women and girls living with disabilities into the sport,” Hawkins added.

Coaches Abdul Razzaq, Tahir Butt, and Bakhtawar Iqbal, who trained the national blind men's team, helped the women players push their boundaries.

The Chairman of PBCC Syed Sultan Shah, said, “blind cricket is a sport that has gained popularity in recent years for its unique approach to inclusivity. It provides an opportunity for people with visual impairments to compete at a high level, develop their skills and confidence, and become people of vision, both on and off the field. I hope that this initiative will inspire more people with disabilities to participate in sports and lead fulfilling lives.”

Two blind factory workers invented blind cricket in Melbourne, Australia, in 1922 when they improvised the game using a tin can containing rocks. A few years later, in 1928, the first sports ground and clubhouse for blind cricket were built at Kooyong in Melbourne.