February 9, 2009 2:28:39 am
It was quite heartening to see legendary cricketer Kapil Dev donning the mantle of an umpire for the first time. Kapil who was there in the state capital on Sunday as the chief guest for the final match of the 8th Dr Shakuntala Mishra memorial inter-state cricket tournament for the visually impaired chose not to speak much and let his actions show his affection towards the differently abled cricketers. I am not a politician,so I do not know how to speak much. I want the match to start soon.
He said that these youngsters were even more talented than the Indian team and were a source of inspiration for all. You have a better power of analysing things than us because it is not easy to play just by listening to the sound of the ball (special balls for the visually impaired) so play well and inspire others.
After this short message,the pacer headed towards the ground for the toss. On coming to know the wish of the differently-abled players of having him to bowl and bat with them,he along with his former partner Chetan Sharma,who was the special guest on the occasion,led towards the pitch at once. To the utter surprise of the participants,they not only batted and bowled but also did umpiring.
The batsmen went all-out to play shots in the one over he bowled. Kapil was quite impressed at this and said that he would never have been able to play so well without seeing the ball. When his turn for batting came,he got himself blindfolded. The first ball hit the leg and went towards the leg stump while he could have no idea of the ball on the second delivery also. Finding no way out,he took off the ribbon and batted for a couple of deliveries more before being bowled out.
Just when the Karnataka and Haryana players were thinking that he will now be leaving the grounds,he decided to do umpiring along with Sharma. It came as a pleasant surprise for Karnataka openers Prakash and Erraya with the cricketing great signalling the scorers for every boundary they made. They discharged the duties till the fall of the first wicket in the sixth over.
Kapil who was totally bowled over by the performances of these young boys could not stop himself from going ga-ga over their performances!
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