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A cricket game for special kids

Feb. 24: Cricket buffs glued to the television for every match may not have witnessed such a game before but it will be no less special.

The participants as well as spectators will cheer for every boundary and sigh on every wicket lost, as 11 differently-abled children will play with kids attending a regular school in a cricket match.

A team of 11 children from the Centre of Special Education, a city-based special school, will play with children from Assam Valley English High School during a two-day annual sports event organised by Shishu Sarothi, a rehabilitation and training centre for multiple disabilities, from tomorrow.

However, the enthusiasm and sporting spirit of the special kids will definitely matter more than the rules of the game.

While the special cricket match will be the main attraction, the event will also comprise other special sports designed especially for children with severe disabilities.

“This will be a special cricket match as each team will comprise equal numbers of normal and differently-abled children. Each team will comprise five differently-abled and six normal children. The motive is to promote healthy cooperation and co-ordination between the two groups of kids not only on the field but also in other fields. In fact, the differently-abled children have expressed their eagerness to play cricket with other kids. However, since the special kids may have problems while performing certain activities like bowling, we have adjusted the rules of the game to suit their requirements,” said Kandarpa Kumar Nath, special coach at the centre.

“There exist different kinds of sports especially designed keeping different disabilities in mind and these sports are also played internationally. Each discipline is designed according to the different disabilities an athlete may suffer,” said Arman Ali, executive director of Shishu Sarothi. “This is not the first cricket match that our special team will play. We have been training them for a while now and they can play cricket with equal zeal and enthusiasm like their regular counterparts. Participating in different activities with normal children gives the special kids an opportunity to build their level of confidence, thereby boosting their all-round development despite the problems they have,” said Nath.

“On the first day, children with severe disabilities will play with balloons and other games like bocci (a ball game). Apart from cricket, we are also trying to teach the special kids the basics of how to play basketball and volleyball,” he said.