The Indian blind cricket team will be in action for the first time in over a year when it travels to Dhaka to play a three-nation T20I series against Bangladesh and Pakistan. The series will run from April 2 until April 8.

An affiliated organisation of the World Blind Cricket Ltd. (WBC), the Bangladesh Blind Cricket Council (BBCC) are staging the tournament on the occasion of the birth centenary of the nation’s founder, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.

Led by captain Ajaykumar Reddy, the Indian blind cricket team was last in action in a three-match ODI and as many matchT20I series against Nepal in December 2019.

“Though we got an opportunity to spend time with our family members due to the lockdown, as a sportsman, it was difficult as we had to spend time without playing a single game till last month. Now, I want to play and I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity in the upcoming tour,” Reddy told Sunday mid-day on Saturday.

The 17-member squad of the Indian blind cricket team is currently in a preparatory camp near Kolkata. All members of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh blind cricket teams took tests for the virus and returned negative.

India will travel to Dhaka on April 1 and play their first match against Bangladesh on the following day. There will be no quarantine protocols. 

“They [Bangladesh Blind Cricket Council] allowed us,” Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) secretary John David has confirmed. “I don’t think there is any risk.”

“Yes, cases are increasing there too, but it’s not in our hands. We will take utmost precautions,” added David, who is also the chief selector of the team. 

Since the abrupt postponement of the Pakistan Super League earlier this month, no Pakistan cricket players have participated in any tournament due to the increase in cases. 

But an official of the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) on Tuesday confirmed that all the players and staff returned negative after tests, according to PTI.

India blind cricket team captain Ajaykumar Reddy expects a tough contest against arch-rivals Pakistan going into the series.

“They are a strong team. We have won four World Cups so far and each time we had to beat them in the final. Those who will make mistakes in the game, have to face the consequences. We are practising very hard to beat Pakistan,” added Reddy.

The final of the three-nation series will be played on April 8.

Tri-nation blind cricket tournament: Schedule, fixtures and India match times

All times are Indian Standard Time (IST)

The first two matches will be played at the Gulshan Youth Club Ground while the rest will be at Bashundhara Sports Complex.

April 2, Friday: Bangladesh vs India - 9:30 AM IST 

April 3, Saturday: Bangladesh vs Pakistan - 9:30 AM IST

April 4, Sunday: Pakistan vs India - 9:30 AM IST

April 5, Monday: Bangladesh vs India - 9:30 AM IST

April 6, Tuesday: Bangladesh vs Pakistan - 9:30 AM IST

April 7, Wednesday: Pakistan vs India - 9:30 AM IST

April 8, Thursday: Final

India blind cricket squad for the three-nation series

Kalia Pradhan (B1), Akshay Borikar (B1), Sujit Munda (B1), Mohammed Jafar Iqbal (B1), Akshay Choudhri (B1), Basappa Waddagol (B1), I Ajaykumar Reddy (captain) (B2), D Venkateswara Rao (B2), Maneesh Anandan (B2), Lokesha (B2), Dibyaendu Mahata (B2), Sunil Ramesh (vice-captain) (B3), Deepak (B3),  T Durga Rao (B3), Pankaj Bhue (B3), Prakasha Jayaramaiah (B3), A Ravi (wicket-keeper) (B3).

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @blind_cricket