Blind cricketers’ World Cup dreams in jeopardy

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By Avenash Ramzan

With each passing day, the three Guyanese cricketers on the West Indies team for the Blind T20 World Cup later this month in India are become more and more agitated.

The clock is ticking and if there isn’t some level of intervention from high places, their dreams and that of the West Indies team to attend the prestigious event could be shattered.

Ganesh Singh, Leroy Phillips and Kevin Douglas were selected as part of the West Indies team to the World Cup following outstanding performances in the regional tournament last year.

However, to date, the cricketers have only secured their airfare from Guyana to New York, and require $1.1 million more of the $1.8 million budget, which was significantly cut from the original budget of $2.5 million.

“The three of us who are going from Guyana, two are B1’s (total blindness) and one is a B3 (partial sight). If Leroy and myself, who are B1’s, do not go to this tournament, it would be impossible for the West Indies team to play. Reason being, they only have three B1’s from Jamaica and Barbados that are already travelling and you need at least four B1’s to play,” Singh explained.

He continued, “Leroy is undoubtedly, at this point, the best B1 batsman in the Caribbean. I consider myself as veteran in the game, but I’m still considered one of the better, if not the best B1 bowler in the Caribbean. So the two of us are critical components of the whole West Indies Blind Cricket make-up.”

Since the West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired is in no position to assist financially, the players have to seek their own funding.

It is understood that the budgets for all the other players from the different territories in the West Indies team are already covered. Singh and Phillips are now calling on government and corporate Guyana for help in garnering the outstanding sum.

Singh said, “We really desperately need this $1.1 million more to get our tickets from New York to India and back. That doesn’t include a stipend- we will go broke, it doesn’t matter, once we get food.”

Phillips stated, “It’s crunch time so we would definitely encourage persons out there who are capable of supporting us in this process to make it an eventful one so we can get our tickets and so forth sorted to India ASAP, because that’s what it is right now.”

Persons desirous of assisting the players can call the Guyana Society for the Blind on 226-4496.

The West Indies squad reads: (B1)- Anthony Cummins, Jason Ricketts, Marlon Cole, Ganesh Singh and Leroy Phillips; (B2)- Ricardo Manning, Kci Ward Ryan, Gregory Stewart, Caneel Graham, Alvin James, and Mark Goddard; (B3) Haldene Forde, Dennol Shim, Lo-Shane Myles, Mark Sweeney and Kevin Douglas The management team comprises Stevenson Evelyn (Manager), Glendon Coke (Coach) and Carrison Henry (Physio).

The Blind Cricket T20 World Cup, to be held in multiple cities in India, will start on January 28 and end on February 17. It will feature 10 teams, namely Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

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