No handicap to play cricket | Sunday Observer

No handicap to play cricket

Sri Lanka squad: Priyantha Kumara (captain), Saman Kumara, Sahan Kumara, JD Raveendra, KA Silva, D. Chaminda, Kosala Herath, Upul Sanjeewa, Ruwan Wasantha, Saman Thushara, DDN Mathugama, WSC Bandara, Suranga Sampath, Chandana Deshappriya, Chandana Sooriayarachchi, Damith Sandaruwan, Dinesh Maduwantha, Lakshan Devapriya (coach) Chaminda Pushpakumara (Manager), YGA Sumanaweera (assistant manager)
Sri Lanka squad: Priyantha Kumara (captain), Saman Kumara, Sahan Kumara, JD Raveendra, KA Silva, D. Chaminda, Kosala Herath, Upul Sanjeewa, Ruwan Wasantha, Saman Thushara, DDN Mathugama, WSC Bandara, Suranga Sampath, Chandana Deshappriya, Chandana Sooriayarachchi, Damith Sandaruwan, Dinesh Maduwantha, Lakshan Devapriya (coach) Chaminda Pushpakumara (Manager), YGA Sumanaweera (assistant manager)

Amid several constraints, shortcomings and obstacles, the island’s visually handicapped cricketers made their preparations for a tour of India early this week to contest a Bilateral and Triangular Series for the Blind 2018.

Without a regular venue to train and no sponsor to pump in the money the players struggled through hard times to come on top and be prepared for the three-week tour that will also pit them against a team from England.

They will also play five T20 matches and three ODIs against India after the Triangular.

“Actually this short training period was not enough for us but at least we were able to prepare ourselves in some way”, said skipper Priyantha Kumara.

“We had the opportunity for a five day residential training session at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota and we must thank Sri Lanka Cricket for coming to our aid”, he added.

The Sports Ministry had also chipped in at the last minute and are expecting some positive results.

From 1998 to 2012 Sri Lanka won just one match but the present team has more potential according to Priyantha.

“After 20 years we got a chance to beat a strong India team two months ago and that paved the way for us to go on this tour with more confidence”, said Priyantha who hails from Sevanagala and works at the Sevanagala Sugar Corporation.

“Our side is strong with two former skippers Chandana Sooriyarachchi and Chandana Deshapriya. Both of them give me more strength to handle the side. Our 17-member squad is well balanced although we have no specialized coaches for bowling, batting or fielding. We have no physiotherapist or team doctor but we are very positive of Sri Lanka Cricket helping us out on such matters in the future”, said Priyantha.

Overall, Sri Lanka’s visually handicapped cricketers face many obstacles to do their training with no proper ground and the lack of cricket gear. But the players have not lost their team spirit. Chaminda Pushpakumara who himself was a former cricketer lends his fullest support.

“Today we are ranked in third place after India and Pakistan. That’s why defeating the number one world ranked India team in Sri Lanka was a big achievement”, said Priyantha.

Most of the team members are from the Army and they have no worries about any of their physical drawbacks.

Tour Manager Chaminda Pushpakumara said: I think for the first time SLC, the Sports Ministry and the Visually Handicapped Cricket Association have come together for our own good. SLC donated Rs. 1.5 million for this India tour and the Sri Lanka cricketers donated cricket bags for the players.

“In addition we already have a plan to get some good training sessions before the 2020 World Cup. Our ambition is to win the World Cup in 2020. This is why having some good training at international venues is more important. We have no sponsors for our local tournaments and I hope sponsors support this talented team in the future”.

 

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