GCB makes monetary donation to blind cricketers

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By Avenash Ramzan

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Friday morning answered to the call of the Guyana Blind Cricket Association (GBCA) for financial assistance for three of the country’s cricketers to travel to India as part of the West Indies team in the Blind T20 World Cup.

At a simple ceremony at the board’s Regent Street office, president Drubahadur presented a cheque to the association’s head, Cecil Morris.

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.

While they have raised the airfare from Guyana to New York, they still require another $1.1 million of the $1.8 million budget to cover the air travel from New York to India. The GCB donated $250,000 to the association, which would now mean they still have to raise another $850,000.

“In the past we’ve always been there once they make the call, and we will continue in the future once all remains stable. I sincerely hope that this little token will go a far way in assisting you guys,” Drubahadur said.

President of the GBCA, Cecil Morris, expressed elation at receiving such support from the board, noting that it will give the players hope that the trip will eventually become a reality.

“This token will take us a far way in making the trip more possible for the three guys who are going and represent the West Indies. Blind cricket has been a great catalyst for our people and we really appreciate once anybody can come onboard and give the kind of support that the Cricket Board has been giving us over a number of years,” Morris explained.

Earlier this week, Singh related to News Room Sport the possibility of the West Indies team not making it to the tournament if the budget for the Guyanese trio is not met.

“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.

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.

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). Meanwhile, persons desirous of assisting the players can call the Guyana Society for the Blind on 226-4496.

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