Muhammad Shabbir Awan
The 5th Edition of World Cup Cricket of the Blind (ODI format) was played in Pakistan and UAE in January 2018. The final was played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 20 between Pakistan and the Defending Champions India but unfortunately the former lost to their arch rivals by two wickets.
The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) — the host of the event — announced 22-member Squad for the World Cup. The questions arise that who are these players? Where they come from? And what they do?
Only about half of Pakistan’s 22-member Squad have some sort of regular jobs while nine of them are unemployed, and two work on contract or on daily wages.
The PBCC awards contract to 17 players in three categories: of which, the highest A category players are given Rs 12,000; while the B and C are given Rs. 10,000 and 9000 respectively. Not only that, All PBCC Directors, Chairman and other Clubs Executives do the volunteer work for the promotion of cricket and to serve their motherland. This small piece is a shot in the flood of information to briefly introduce our national heroes.
- Nisar Ali, the captain and wicket-keeper batsman of Pakistan team, belongs to Azad Kashmir (AK). He is serving as School Teacher.
- Aamir Ishfaq, vice-captain and batsman from Lahore, works as Telephone Operator in Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited. He holds the world record of fastest 50 on 13 balls against England in 2014. He also has the honor of representing Pakistan in all Blind Cricket World Cups (4ODIs and 2 T-20s) played so far in the history of Blind Cricket since 1998.
- Muhammad Ayaz, all-rounder from Bahawalpur, serves as Cane-Worker in Punjab Special Education Department.
- Sajid Nawaz, bowler from Bahawalpur/Lodhran, works as contract employee in the Health Department at Lodhran.
- Riasat Khan, batsman from Abbottabad, is unemployed.
- Zafar Iqbal, batsman from Bahawalpur, is serving as Cane-Worker in Punjab Special Education Department.
- Muhammad Asif, all-rounder from Peshawar, is pursuing his bachelor degree.
- Anees Javed, all-rounder from Islamabad, has completed his MSc in Pakistan Studies and is hunting for a job.
- Zeshan Abbasi, playing manager and fast bowler, is Special Educator from Islamabad. He is considered to be the world’s fastest bowler in contemporary blind cricket. In recognition of his services, he was awarded the Pride of Performance by the President of Pakistan.
- Badar Munir (all-rounder) is pursuing his Matriculation; besides his passion of cricket.
- Mati Ullah of Lahore (all-rounder) is pursuing his Intermediate.
- Haroon Khan, bowler from Peshawar, is unemployed.
- Muhammad Jamil (all-rounder) is performing services as a school teacher.
- Mohsin Khan, all-rounder from Peshawar, is unemployed.
- Muhammad Ejaz, batsman from Bahawalpur, is a worker at Bahawalpur Corporation.
- Israr-Ul Hasan, all-rounder from Gujranwala, is working on daily wages.
- Sana Ullah Marwat, batsman from Lakki Marwat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), holds BA & B.Ed. degrees and is searching for job.
- Muhammad Rashid, all-rounder from Bahawalpur, is unemployed.
Among the Team Officials, Abdul Razzaq (Coach), is Special Educator and is former Captain of Pakistan Blind Cricket Team under whose leadership our national team brought ODI World Cup twice (2002 and 2006) in Pakistan. In recognition of his services, he was awarded Tamgha-E-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan.
- Masood Jan (batting coach) serves as teacher and is a former batsman of Pakistan team. The Guinness Book of Records carried his name as the top scorer in International ODI Cricket for scoring 261 runs in 1998 against South Africa.
- Tahir Mahmood Butt (trainer) works as a teacher and is also certified PCB trainer and umpire.
- Asif Azeem (media manager) is Director Media of PBCC and serves as Director Media and Sports in District Management Karachi South.
It merits mentioning here that Pakistan Blind Cricket Team holds a total of 19 world records in International Cricket which include Highest T20 and ODI total scores against West Indies 373 and against South Africa 517 respectively; 264 runs in a single T20 innings by Muhammad Akram; fastest 50 by Aamir Ishfaq on 13 balls; and winning an ODI by largest margin of 399 runs.
Having said that, I invite my readers to spend some moments and reflect on the performance that our blind national team has shown as against the benefits or facilities they have been given vis-à-vis our regular team.
Nevertheless, Pakistan Blind Cricket Team has proven tougher than the financial or social challenges in their struggle to prove their nation and themselves. To sum-up, a quotation by George Bernard Shaw is quite fitting here: “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” Thus, one can say that despite of countless troubles and hurdles in their way, Pakistan’s blind cricket team has found or made their own circumstances.
The writer is an analyst and is pursuing his PhD in International Relations (IR). He tweets as @mshabirawan