India are to host the T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind at nine different centres from January 31 to February 12 and Pakistan is among the competing teams.
The opening game between hosts India and the West Indies is to be held at Delhi, while the final is to be conducted in Bengaluru, as per the schedule released at a media conference in Mumbai on Wednesday by chief guest and former India captain, Dilip Vengarsar. The tournament, to be organised by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India, is budgeted to cost Rs 24.5 crore, its president G K Mahantesh said.
Vengsarkar, on his part, invited the organisers to conduct all the matches in Mumbai to be hosted by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), of which he is the vice president. “Four to five years ago, I was the chief guest at the national championship for the blind in Lucknow. It was a great experience for me. I batted normally against one ball and then batted against the second with my eyes blindfolded and I found it difficult to connect,” said the 116-Test veteran.
“I had seen fielders dive here and there and taking brilliant catches. It was amazing to see,” he said.
“MCA will be happy to host all the matches. We have four grounds (where matches can be played) in South Mumbai. It will be a small contribution (to cricket for the blind) from all of us,” he stated.
“Rahul Dravid (former India batting stalwart and current under 19 and A team coach) is the brand ambassador. I hope it’s a great success,” Vengsarkar added.
Asked about the presence of Pakistan, Mahantesh said that they will land in Delhi, play matches there and play their remaining matches only in Bengaluru. “We would like to play against Pakistan. By then (when the tournament arrives) things (bilateral relations) should be good,” he said.
The other teams in the fray are England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Matches would be held in Delhi, Mumbai, Faridabad, Gujarat, Kochi, Bhubaneswar, Andhra Pradesh and Bengaluru.