He can neither hear nor speak but his glistening eyes said it all. A dream, which Imran Sheikh, the 32-year-old captain of Indian deaf and mute cricket team, cherished for years, came true on Thursday when he, along with his wife Rozia, opened his cricket academy in Vadodara.
Expressing his joy, Sheikh said in sign language, “I will work hard and make strong deaf and mute cricketers so that they do not stay behind in any game of life.”
The all-rounder has been part of the Indian deaf and mute cricket team for almost 15 years and off late is leading the side. Under him, the side has won many major international tournaments, including the 2017 Asia cup most recently. He was also part of the winning side of the 2005 world cup.
Despite all the glory, Imran, the only earning member in his family, has to struggle to meet both his ends meet. He, along with wife Rozia, has been selling sprout salad to the morning walkers at Sayaji garden. “Though he is known as Dhoni of Indian deaf and mute cricket team and is playing for almost 15 years, we have always struggled to run our home. We together have been selling chaat to earn our livelihood and chase Imran’s dream,” said Rozia.
Rozia said he wants to prepare cricketers who can play for India.
The couple’s prayers were answered when they met young entrepreneur and sport enthusiast Tushar Patel (34) who runs a school. He offered his schools playground to Sheikh for his cricket academy. He said “I met Imran during a sport event. He, along with his wife, was selling chaat there. During interaction, I came to know that he is the captain of Indian deaf and mute cricket team and nurturing a dream to start an academy, for which he is saving money. I was moved by his story.”