While cricket lovers across India have been following the fortunes of the Virat Kohli-led Indian team against the visiting Australians in the ongoing Ranchi Test, far away in Hyderabad not many were present when another Indian team won for the first time the Asia Cup for the hearing-impaired at Lal Bahadur stadium on Sunday.
The absence of cheering crowds was evident, but the noisy bench of the Indian team was indicative of the sporting spirit at the venue.
The home team scripted a 161-run win over Sri Lanka in the 50 over final, thanks to a brilliant century by Vipul Patel who scored 130 runs.
Like any cricket match, the rules were the same for the hearing-impaired unlike in the case of the visually-challenged.
The best part was that the Indian team was clearly the most dominant side scoring 300-plus in three matches, including the final, to clinch the four-nation Asia Cup.
The lone boy from Telangana who made an impact was left-arm spinner Karimuddin, who finished with an 11-wicket haul. And, to describe these winning moments was 28-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator Mohd. Shoeb, who, saddened by not getting the trophy for his performances on the field, took up commentary. Mr. Shoeb was also the commentator at the World Cup semifinal for the visually-challenged at the same venue.
The victorious coach, Nitendra Singh of Gujarat, said, “The secret behind the success of this team was that it was full of all-rounders. Hats off to the boys for the way they responded in style to the challenges and won the championship for the first time, which also featured teams from Bangladesh and Nepal.”
“We are grateful to the Telangana government and to V.V. Prasad, president of the Telangana Cricket Association for Deaf, for their support. You need heart to support this cause,” Mr. Singh, who was himself an ex-Ranji player, said.
What’s next on the plate? “One of the first things I did was to speak to the Gujarat Sports Minister for an appointment with the Prime Minister, and I was promised that it would happen within a month,” he said