Blind Cricket Australia: SPT WA members bowling us over with courage and belief

A well-executed cover drive is one of cricket’s most elegant strokes.

Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, who are considered masters of the shot, could punch the ball to the boundary with effortless ease.

A lot of things need to happen in a short space of time for the bat to connect with the ball at exactly the right moment, and at exactly the right angle, in order to send the six-stitcher zinging past the bowler to the boundary.

First, you need to pick the right ball. You’re looking for something that’s over-pitched and outside off stump.

Assuming you are right-handed, your left foot needs to come forward to meet the ball. Your left leg must be bent shy of 90 degrees, the right straight and braced.

Your right foot should be slightly inside your left to ensure you don’t open your hips and increase the chance of a snick through to the keeper.

Critically, your head must be over the ball when you strike.

That, and your advanced left foot, will stop you skying the ball and putting it down the throat of whoever is fielding at long-off.

The stroke is complete when your hands finish above your lowered head after continuing along the line through which you’re hitting the ball.

All of that needs to happen in the two-thirds of a second it takes for a ball delivered by an average fast bowler to travel the 22 yards down the pitch.

It’s a hard enough feat with 20/20 vision. Doing it when you can’t see — as the Australian men’s blind cricket team did last month while on tour in England — is nigh on impossible.

Camera IconThe team doesn’t always play with the elegance of their sighted compatriots (deliveries are slower and the game can be a bit of a scramble) but they more than hold their own in determination and energy.  Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

The team doesn’t always play with the elegance of their sighted compatriots (deliveries are slower and the game can be a bit of a scramble) but they more than hold their own in determination and energy.

Where most cricketers are taught to keep their eye on the ball, the blind team is trained to keep their ear on it. They judge speed and distance by listening to the rattle that’s inside the ball.

The game has come a long way since 1922, when a couple of sight-impaired Melbournians began throwing around a tin can containing some rocks during a test match.

I met a couple of members of the men’s team at a lunch hosted by the WA Cricket Association last summer.

After a few minutes talking to Ryan Honschooten it was obvious he has achieved more in sport (and life in general) than most people with perfect vision.

He is one of those annoying overachievers who forces people like me to take stock of their lives.

We were seated at the same table and I spent a good hour chatting to him, his teammate Brad Brider and a few other people who had impaired vision.

I have always thought sight to be the most dramatic of senses to lose and find the mere idea of living in a world of unknowns utterly terrifying.

Brad, Ryan and the others at my table clearly didn’t get that memo because they were chatting and laughing without a care in the world.

They ate their lunches methodically, occasionally moving their hands around the table in front of them to gently centre themselves in front of their plates.

I was impressed enough with Ryan’s ability to eat lamb off the rack without making a mess; then he got up and delivered a keynote address that had the 200-odd people in the room transfixed.

Public speaking is number one on most people’s list of fears.

I can imagine few things more nerve-racking than speaking to an invisible audience.

The self-belief required to do that is extraordinary.

Ryan clearly has it in spades because you could have heard a pin drop as he talked about the trip to Birmingham for the International Blind Sport Federation’s World Games in August.

I left the lunch making a mental note to check up on how the team fared. Crap is the short answer. It looked like they had a hell of a good time losing, though!

The Australian women’s team, which I didn’t even know existed until I scrolled through Blind Cricket Australia’s Facebook page, won silver in what was their first international outing.

India beat their 8/114 in a rain-shortened grand final which proved that England’s crappy weather doesn’t discriminate.

I’ve saved the best bit of this story for last. Guess what the name of the WA Blind Cricket Club is?

The Venetians.

Just brilliant.

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *