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Thursday / July 7.
HomeminewsAustralia Pioneers Blind Cricket

Australia Pioneers Blind Cricket

Australia has become the first country in the world of Blind Cricket to institute a practice called “Visual Calssification Testing”, which has been made mandatory by the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) for all national teams.

The idea is to create an even playing field and eliminate any suggestion of impropriety in team selections… and the move has the backing of optometrist, international cricketer and coach Geoff Lawson.

The testing of Australian blind cricketers was conducted in early June by Mitasha Marolia, Optometrist and Project Manager for International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE). He is the only person in Australia currently qualified to carry out the testing due to her training and accreditation earlier this year by WBCC in Sri Lanka.

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The idea is to create an even playing field and eliminate any suggestion of impropriety in team selections

According to Lawson, former Australian Cricketer and mivision contributor who attended the day of testing: “These players train very hard and I know sometimes people trivialise or play down the game because it’s not mainstream, but they deserve as much respect as the sighted cricketers. The new Visual Classification Testing should give them more credibility in the international forum.”

Graham Coulton, Australian Blind Cricket Team Manager and former Chairman of Blind Cricket Australia has been an integral part in the test being adopted in Australia. He says it is an important step to stamp out any suspect irregularities in the international game.

“The game needs a testing practice. We need some validity for the players across the board and it should eradicate any indecision and put them in exactly which category they need to play in. I certainly hope it will give more credibility to Blind Cricket on an international basis,” says Mr. Coulton.

Mr. Coulton explains that the Vision Classification Testing is very important due to the strong official guidelines set down for the player structure on a blind cricket team. There are three categories for the players. Each category is a classification of the degree of sight a player can have within the category. Each team is then made up of players from each of the three categories which ensure that no team has an unfair advantage. As an additional measure in Australia, the B1 category players (totally blind) wear regulation sun glasses which block all vision.

Michael Zannis, a batsman for the Australian Blind Cricket Team, says: “We are very proud of being first in the testing practice, as it shows our support as a nation. We believe in transparency and a level playing field for all players. If we can measure what players can see and what their abilities are it should ensure a greater degree of fairness in the game.”

The Australian Blind Cricket Team left Australia in early June for a tour of the West Indies, where they will play a total of four national games and five international games.

Mr. Coulton, Australian Blind Cricket Team Manager says the team gets no Government grants or other sponsorships and is self funded.

“The serious lack of funding for disability cricket needs to be addressed considering the extraordinary money paid to the top able-bodied players. The balance needs to be righted,” says Geoff Lawson.

You can follow their progress at: www.blindcricket.com by clicking on the West Indies Tour link on the home page.

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