While the world's cricket fans were glued to their television sets watching the Cricket World Cup matches, it was an emotional, spirited moment for fans and players alike at the Institute of Engineering cricket grounds in Nepal. At the cricket World Cup 2015, Pakistan lost to the West Indies, but in Kathmandu, Pakistan won the Winter Cup International Wheelchair Cricket Championship 3-0, beating the host, Nepal.
Shahid Waseem from IQRA University in Islamabad, Pakistan, tweeted:
Congrats Pakistan for winning Winter Cup International Wheelchair Cricket Tournament Series on Feb. 20 (Nepal) pic.twitter.com/wfah1XljZL
— Shahid Waseem (@shahidwaseem44) February 22, 2015
Hinting at the poor performance by Pakistan's team, Xeeshan, a sports reporter at PTV, wrote:
“We are Better than the Team in World Cup”..Pakistan WheelChair Cricket Team wins series 3-0 against Nepal. pic.twitter.com/VMHAn9M6Yw
— X è é § h ä ñ (@Xeechilly) February 21, 2015
The cricket tournament was organised by the Nepal Spinal Cord Injury Sports Association. Nepal and Pakistan played three matches of ten overs each on 18-19 February 2015.
Gajendra Budhathoki, a journalist who writes about the economy and development issues, shared some encouraging words with the players:
— Gajendra Budhathoki (@gbudhathoki) February 21, 2015
National Seating and Mobility, advocates for the disabled community, tweeted:
— MOBILITY (@MobilityNSM) February 19, 2015
The championship, the first international tournament for wheelchair cricket, saw 14 spirited players from Nepal play cricket for the first time. All of them have spinal cord injuries—six of them were injured during the Maoist insurgency, while others were injured in accidents (some of them during daily chores like collecting grass and fuelwood). Likewise, for the 16 wheelchair cricket players from Pakistan, it was their first time getting international exposure.
Wheelchair cricket is played with 11 players on each side, like in normal cricket. The matches, however, are limited to minimum of 10 overs and maximum of 20 overs. The length of the pitch is 16 yards and the ground boundary is 45-50 yards.
Like normal cricket, the wheelchair batsman runs for single, double, and three runs. A batsman fetches four and six runs if the ball crosses the boundary and the same rule is applied for wide ball and no ball as in normal cricket.
Continuing the tradition of playing international tournaments, the Nepali Blind Women’s Cricket Team is set to tour Pakistan this year for a T20 series against Pakistan's Blind Women Cricket Team. According to the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, five T20s will be played in five different cities during the series.
The visually impaired Nepalese girls won an international cricket tournament organised by Cricket Association of Blind Nepal 3-0 against a similar team from the UK, last year in 2014.
After the Nepalese victory, Nepalnews.com, a Nepali news portal, wrote:
— Nepalnews.com (@nepalnews_com) October 28, 2014
Like the members of the Nepali Blind Women’s Cricket Team, two of the Nepalese wheelchair cricketers participating in the Winter Cup International Cricket Championship are women: Laxmi Ghimire and Hemkala Sunuwar. Twenty-year-old Laxmi says she will watch the rest of the World Cup matches from home. And so will the others.
Be it spinal injury or visual impairment, none of these disabilities will ever stop these spirited hearts from relishing the fervour of the World Cup.