Quote: "In terms of playing equipment, the major adaptation is the cricket ball, which is significantly larger than a standard cricket ball and filled with ball bearings."
Blind cricket was invented in Melbourne in 1922. The world's first sports ground and clubhouse for blind people was developed at Kooyong, Melbourne in 1928 and is still used today as the home of the VBCA.
Cricket for the blind has also been played since the early 1920s in the United Kingdom. The founding members of the British Blind Sport organization were cricketers, and the association is the administrative body for the sport within the United Kingdom.
All players are registered blind or partially sighted, and of the eleven players in the team, at least four must be totally blind.
Many clubs play friendly matches against sighted teams and give demonstrations of the game during the lunch intervals of Test Cricket Matches.
The rules of blind cricket are based on the standard laws of cricket with a few modifications.
Teams are composed of players from up to five different sight categories B1, low partial, B2, B3 and B4. B1 is totally blind and the sight categories then move upwards in levels of sight. Each sight category is subject to different rules and compensations in order to make the playing field as level as possible.
The pitch is made of concrete and measures the same length and width as used in sighted cricket. The boundaries are measured 40 meters in a circle around the pitch and indicated by a white line with flags set at intervals.
In terms of playing equipment, the major adaptation is the cricket ball, which is significantly larger than a standard cricket ball and filled with ball bearings. The size allows partially sighted players to see the ball and the contents allow blind players to hear it. The wicket (stumps) is also larger, to allow partially sighted players to see and blind players to touch it in order to correctly orient themselves when batting or bowling.
Verbal signals are widely used both by umpires and players: in particular, the bowler must shout 'Play!' as he releases the ball. The delivery is required to pitch at least twice when bowled to a completely blind batsman (once when bowled to a partially sighted batsman), but must not be rolling. Totally blind batsmen cannot be out stumped, and must be found to be LBW twice before going out. Totally blind fielders are allowed to take a catch on the bounce.
In Australia blind cricket is widely played, particularly in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and in the Australian Capital Territory, each of which boasts a number of teams in regular competition. Every two years State cricket teams meet for the Australian Blind Cricket Championships. The Vision Australia 29th National Blind Cricket Championships were held in Melbourne 28th December 2007 - 12th January 2008.
In the United Kingdom two domestic competitions are run: the two-division BBS Cricket League, based around single-innings matches played around the country throughout the cricket season; and the BBS Primary Club National Knockout Cup, a knockout competition of limited-overs matches held each August at Lord's Cricket Ground.
The first Blind Cricket Ashes competition was held in England in August 2004. 5 matches were played, with England winning the Ashes by 3 games to 2. A return series of 5 matches is scheduled to be held in Sydney, Australia, in December 2008.
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