“Physically disabled cricketers have challenged the coaching manual": Amir Ansari


PakPassion Administrator
Staff member
Oct 2, 2004
The recently concluded series between disabled cricketers from Pakistan and England in the UAE ended with a closely fought 2-1 victory for the hosts, Pakistan, in both T20I and ODI formats. Whereas many would marvel at the virtually superhuman strengths of these sportsmen to compete at such intensity, what is truly inspirational is the manner in which they have overcome their disabilities to come this far and represent their nations with unadulterated pride.

Someone who clearly understands the sacrifices and the struggles associated with this form of cricket is the honorary secretary of the Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association (PDCA), Amir Uddin Ansari who in exclusive remarks with PakPassion.net spoke about the background and future of Disabled Cricket in Pakistan stating that “Disabled Cricket started in 2007 in Karachi under the Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association. The body made an effort to spread this throughout the country and introduce it at the international level in 2012.”

It is a matter of extreme pride for many Pakistanis that the game in this form was pioneered in the country as Ansari explains.

“Being a Pakistan it is something to be proud of that something that we introduced is being played internationally. The founder person of the association is Saleem Karim who was also the first captain of the Disabled Cricket team. His left leg is polio affected and he single-handedly made efforts to promote this game. He is responsible for sponsorships and organising of all the events, the website and social media in Pakistan and internationally.”

Whereas the mainstream form of cricket has many avenues for its advancement, the disabled game has understandably lagged in this aspect. Ansari feels that this is now changing “Social Media in this day and age has become a very effective tool and it has revolutionized the media. We have also created Twitter accounts, websites and Facebook pages for the Disabled Cricket Association.”

No discussion on the achievements of disabled cricketers can hide the amount of effort put in by these sportsmen to make the effort and play and rise to the level they have. Whilst attitudes towards disabled persons are changing dramatically, Ansari feels that disabled cricketers need to be recognized for their inspirational struggle to overcome their disabilities.

“Physically disabled people were considered worthless and useless in Pakistan and particularly in the Asian region but in our culture the concept has changed and people give them respect and call them ‘Disabled’ rather than any other harsh words nowadays. The interesting thing that no one realizes is that cricket is totally an unfit game for these guys and still they are playing very normal cricket. There are actually two different sections ‘the mental side and the physical side’. The physical side is usually given more importance in cricket but these Disabled Cricketers have used their mental strength too and proved to the world they can play cricket too.”

The site of the perfect cover drive in international cricket is possibly an outcome of years of practice following accepted techniques but what disabled cricketers are achieving despite their disabilities beggars belief and in Ansari’s words is a direct challenge to what is considered conventional wisdom for cricket.

“Physically disabled cricketers have challenged the coaching manual which has been considered sacrosanct throughout the history of cricket! If you take any skill whether bowling, batting or fielding it requires you to be super fit with both arms and legs. When you catch your head needs to be still, the body needs to be balanced on both your feet and the eye level needs to be accurate too but these disabled cricketers are catching the ball with one hand, batting with one hand and bowling with a single arm. The same applies to bowling where your non bowling arm plays a very vital part on where to bowl and on the balance of the body.”

The disabled cricketers of Pakistan and England head back to their homes with their heads held high and it is a matter of great national pride that such flag bearers of human triumph live amongst us. The individual stories of hardship that they have endured to represent their nations are an example for all and one hopes that they continue to inspire us in the way they have done so far.
Inspirational stories - all of these cricketers need to be acknowledged for what they do for love of this game!
It was very motivating seeing them play. Nothing can be impossible if you have the willingness to do it
Being physically disabled myself, it is an extra source of pride that Pakistan has led the way in this development...
So inspirational. Hats off to the cricketers and Pakistan for introducing the program :14:
The most uplifting thing is that none of the disabled cricketers we spoke to felt sorry for themselves - they overcame hardships and have played for Pakistan with their hearts. What more can one ask?
Important for us all to appreciate the skills and sacrifice Disabled Cricketers have had to make to earn an opportunity to serve their country - truly inspirational
amazing stuff , hats off to these people . They deserve credit for pursuing their goals no matter what.
Australian blind cricket team opener Steffan Nero has smashed a longstanding world record with an astonishing unbeaten 309 off 140 balls at the International Cricket Inclusion Series.

The wicketkeeper-batter’s triple century broke the previous benchmark of 262 not out, set by Pakistan’s Masood Jan at the 1998 Blind Cricket World Cup.

“It’s a dream in itself to play for Australia so to make a century for Australia is one of those lifelong memories you will never forget,” Nero said after making his third straight century at the tournament in Brisbane.

It followed knocks of 113 (off 46 balls) and 101 not out (47), and leaves him with a scarcely believable average of 523. It also included the first six of the tournament, a magnificent reverse sweep over the ropes at Shaw Park.

“Sometimes in an over I decide, ‘OK I’m going to try to take this guy downtown and hit him out of the park’,” Nero said. “This ball hit the right spot. One of my strengths is the reverse. I’ve built that up over the years, playing that reverse sweep all the time.

“When it went over the boundary for six I was very happy with that. But I was also annoyed I hit the ball in the air, because when you verse the best nations in the world, they’ll most likely catch you.”

Needless to say, after Nero’s innings propelled his side to a total of 541-2 off 40 overs, Australia won the match by a mammoth 269 runs. The host nation leads the series against New Zealand 6-0, with two further ODIs to be played before the series concludes on Friday.

The tournament in Brisbane is the first time since 2019 that all three Australian squads – blind, deaf and intellectual disability – have competed at international level. Due to the disruption of Covid-19, Nero has not represented Australia since 2018 at the ODI World Cup in Dubai.

“It’s been a long time,” he said. “But no matter who we are playing, we always like to put in 100% and put the Australian spirit on show. All we really want to do is play cricket.”

Nero said the secret to his success was a lot of hard work and dedication. “It’s a lot of evenings, weekends, along with university and work it can be quite a lot at time,” he said. “But also the support around me. There have been days when I didn’t want to train but [coach Jason Stubbs] said ‘keep going’ and pushed me through.”

Blind cricket is much like the conventional form of the game, with a few key differences – the ball is plastic and makes a noise when it moves, and the stumps are made of metal to generate more noise when stuck by the ball. Bowling is underarm and the ball must bounce at least twice before it reaches the batter.

ODI matches are 40 overs, which takes not only a physical but also a mental toll on visually impaired players, Nero said.

“I imagine it’s a big mental strain concentrating for any fully sighted person for that length of time,” he said. “But with vision impairment we have to expend a lot more energy to concentrate, especially if the ball is moving around and the glare, it’s really hard.”

Nevertheless, after his impressive innings, Nero went on to keep wicket and promptly completed five run outs.

“It’s been a whirlwind but a fantastic experience,” he said.