What’s the story?
India’s blind cricket team is set to travel to Pakistan to take part in the 2018 Blind World Cup. Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) announced that some matches of the tournament, as well as the title clash, will be played in the country.
“Asian teams (like) India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal have confirmed playing matches in Pakistan while matches with European countries including Australia, South Africa and West Indies will be played in Dubai,” PBCC Chairman Syed Sultan Shah told APP.
He added, “This would help pave way for restoration of international sports in the country. We are proud to host the World Cup and hopefully, it would boost the effort for the return of international cricket to the country. We’ve written a letter to the (Pakistan) Prime Minister in which we have requested for financial assistance and for the early visa process of the international teams touring here.”
In case you didn’t know...
Earlier this year, the Indian team won the World T20 for the Blind by beating Pakistan in the final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. During a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, every member of the team, as well as the support staff, received a cheque of INR 2 Lakhs from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The heart of the matter
Apart from hosts Pakistan, the seven other teams participating in the 2018 Blind World Cup are India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia, South Africa and West Indies. While some of the matches will be held in the country including the final, the remainder of the tournament is slated to take place in Dubai.
The development comes in the wake of Pakistan successfully hosting the 2017 PSL final in Lahore. Even though a few of the overseas players pulled out from the summit clash, several others took part in the match which brought cricket back to the Asian giants’ shores.
Parallels from history
The 2006 edition of the Blind World Cup also took place in Islamabad. Pakistan beat India under the captaincy of PBCC’s founder Aga Shaukat Ali. However, the Indians are currently the defending champions as they had defeated their arch-rivals in the 2014 edition in South Africa.
Hosting the Blind World Cup could be another step towards bringing cricket back into Pakistan. By agreeing to visit their neighbouring nation for the tournament, the Indian team has reiterated that sport has the power to rise above politics.