Blind cricketers to raise G$2M for World Cup trip
By Avenash Ramzan
The Guyana Blind Cricket Association (GBCA) has found itself in an all too familiar position, having to now find a significant sum to ensure the three Guyanese on the West Indies squad make the trip to next year’s T20 World Cup in India.
Following their performance in the West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WICCBVI) regional tournament this year, three Guyanese- Ganesh Singh, Kevin Douglas and Leroy Phillips– were selected in the West Indies 20-man squad for the World Cup in January and February 2017.
News Room Sport understands that the territorial boards are required to raise the cost of airfare for their players to India, which amounts to G$2 million.
Two of the three players- Singh and Douglas- spoke to this news outlet and both made an appeal for government and corporate Guyana to support a worthy cause.
Singh said, “The Local Organising Committee in India will be covering accommodation, meals and ground transport, and the West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired is in no position to assist with the expenses for airfare. So each local board needs to raise those funds so that is what we’ve been doing here in Guyana.”
Douglas stated, “I want to ask persons to support us with sponsorship and the little bit that we’re asking for, and with their help we should get there.”
Singh further added, “Again we will be appealing to corporate Guyana and let’s hope they come on board, like they usually do, so that we can get the required funds to go to India. Because, it’s not just about three players going to play for the West Indies team, it’s much more than that. It’s all about empowerment for persons who are blind and visually impaired, because blind cricket actually does that. Being in a forum such as the World T20 championships will be a great exposure for persons who are blind and visually impaired, especially Kevin and Leroy, who have never played for the West Indies team and are much younger than I am. It will do well for their self-esteem and confidence.”
While the GBCA is in no position to fund the trip, executives will this month host a bar-b-que and two cricket matches at the Malteenoes Sports Club ground, proceeds from which will go towards the players per diem.
Treasurer of the GBCA, Theresa Pemberton, told News Room that the association is once again leaning on well-wishers to make the trip for the three players possible. She noted that letters have already been sent to various persons and organisations and the GBCA is hoping for a favourable response soon.
Meanwhile, Singh added that while the focus right now is on sorting out the logistics, actually on-field preparations will begin shortly.
“Regarding training, we haven’t started on actual turf as yet. We hopefully will do that this week at the Malteenoes Sports Club, but some persons have been working in the gym trying to get their fitness to a level,” Singh stated.
The Blind Cricket T20 World Cup, to be held in multiple cities in India, will start on January 28 and end on February 17.
Photo caption: West Indies selectees! From left: Leroy Phillips, Kevin Douglas and Ganesh Singh