How is blind cricket played?

Blind cricket is a version of cricket devised for the completely blind or partially sighted players. The sport was invented in Australia in 1922. However, it was in 1996 when the World Blind Cricket Council was formed. Four years later, the first test match for the blind was played. Today, the World Blind Cricket Council has ten full members including Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, England West Indies and Nepal.

While most of the rules for blind cricket are conventional, variations in some laws exist to compensate for the visual impairment. These rules were first laid down in 2005.

A blind cricket teams consists of four completely blind players (B1), three partially blind players (B2) and four partially sighted players (B3). Audible cues play an important role in blind cricket. The cricket ball used in blind cricket is slightly larger and has a ball bearing inside it which provides the audible cue. The ball should bounce twice when bowled to a completely blind player and once when bowled to a partially sighted player. When the bowler releases the ball, it is mandatory for them to say “Play” out loud so that the batter can know the time of release of the ball.

The stumps used in blind cricket are metallic and painted fluorescent. This is to allow completely blind players to touch and feel the stumps and orient themselves accordingly  for batting or bowling. The colour allows partially sighted players to see the stumps.

Completely blind players cannot be stumped. They are also allowed to catch the ball after one bounce. Furthermore, they need to be declared leg before wicket twice before deeming them out. It is illegal to roll the ball in blind cricket. The most frequently used shot by the batter in blind cricket is the sweep shot.
The first Blind Cricket World Cup was held in 1998. South Africa won the inaugural edition. India and Pakistan have since then won two titles each. The Blind Cricket World Cup was also held in a T20 format. As of 2023, India have won all three editions of this format of the World Cup. Blind Cricket also has its own version of The Ashes. England have won three of the four series played till date.

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