12 April 2019
Source: RNIB Scotland
It’s just not cricket!
Except it is. A special visually impaired cricket match between a team of Glasgow City Councillors – wearing ‘sim-specs’ that simulate different sight loss conditions – and members, volunteers and staff from RNIB Scotland, took place in the city’s Kelvinhall Sport and Leisure Centre on Wednesday [10 April 2019].
With visually impaired cricket the ball is larger and filled with ball bearings to provide audible cues. The size allows partially sighted players to see the ball and the contents allow blind players to hear it. The wicket is also larger and has flashing light bails on top that will make a noise when they fall off and hit the ground. The bowler must shout ‘Play!’ as he/she releases the ball, and totally blind fielders are allowed to take a catch on the bounce.
Councillor Saqib Ahmed organised the event in partnership with Cricket Scotland’s participation team.
“This match gave everyone involved an insight to a world without sight,” he said. “I used to play cricket for a club, which I really enjoyed. Following a discussion about cricket with James Adams, the director of RNIB Scotland, we agreed to hold a cricket match with people who are visually impaired playing.
I hope it highlighted the difficulties which are faced by people who are visually impaired on a daily basis. We want to raise awareness that people with sight loss can still play sports and that Glasgow as a city wants to encourage this.”
Taking part in the match, RNIB Scotland worker Jamila Shaikh has cone dystrophy which affects her ability to sense colours. “I am delighted that this cricket match has been organized, as many visually impaired people find it difficult to get access to play sports,” she said. “I am hoping that this match will highlight that, with the right accessibility, many more visually impaired people will take up the opportunity to play sports.”
Madison Garland, disability cricket development officer for Cricket Scotland, said: “We jumped at the opportunity to set up this exhibition match to help raise the awareness of not only VI cricket but of disability sport, and the lack of opportunity that those with a visual impairment or disability have.
“We hope that this will create conversation with the councillors, who will experience first-hand what it is like to have a visual impairment, and push them towards assisting in creating more opportunities for people with a visual impairment within their communities.
We are all extremely excited about the match and look forward to creating future events in partnership with RNIB Scotland and Glasgow City Council. “
As well as Cllr Ahmed, other Glasgow City councillors taking part are Hanif Raja, Frank McAveety, Rashid Hussain, Martin McElroy, Maureen Burke, Graham Campbell, Jim Kavanagh, Matt Kerr and Robert Mooney.