Australia supports cricket training for blind women


Visually-impaired female cricketers are role models for Pakistani women: Neil Hawkins

Zubair Qureshi

The Australian High Commission (AHC) sponsored a six-day cricket training for visually impaired women and girls from across Pakistan.

The training was organized in collaboration with the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) and Serena Hotels from March 15 to March 20.

Visually-impaired young cricketer women from across the country participated in the training sessions and showed rich potential and skills in the sport that is equally popular with the Pakistani and the Australian women.

Speaking at the concluding ceremony of the training, Australian High Commissioner Neil Hawkins congratulated the participating players on successful conclusion of their training programme.

He commended the high morale and fighting spirit of the visually impaired female cricketers and hoped they would win laurels for their country by playing cricket at national and international levels. It is heartening to see you joining the training programme with passion and dedication all these six days, he noted.

The training builds on Australia’s support to PBCC since 2018 which led to the formation of Pakistan’s first blind women cricket team. The new team played its first international Twenty20 game in the same year. An award giving ceremony marked the concluding day, Monday, of the training programme.

Australia’s support, the high commissioner said, aimed to provide more women and girls with disabilities the opportunity to compete and demonstrate their ability, while promoting inclusion in sport.

You are role models for the girls of Pakistan as you are not ordinary girls but champions, he said.

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

The blind women cricket teams’ coaches Abdul Razzaq, Tahir Butt and Bakhtawar Iqbal, who have also coached the national blind men’s team, helped these players push their boundaries.

The Chairman of Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, 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.” The final match of the national women blind cricket tournament was also played on the occasion and the Punjab team won the final match by beating the Islamabad blind women cricket team by 8 wickets. The Australian High Commissioner presented awards/prizes among the players.