Pakistan's handicapped cricket team will take on India in the first of the three-match ODI series match today (Thursday) at 10am here at Raja Nehar Singh Cricket Stadium, Fareedabad. The match will be of 35 overs a side and Indian provincial Sports Minister will honor the occasion as the chief guest.
Earlier, Pakistan handicapped cricket team reached India in the wee hours of Wednesday to play the ODI and T20 series. The Pakistani contigent was received by Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI) secretary Ravi Chauhan amid drum beats and dancing from the overjoyed crowd who raised slogans in favour of both the teams. Indian hadicapped cricket team had earlier visited Pakistan in June for a ODI and T20 series.
“Indian handicapped players have potential to beat any side of the world with their determination and devotion. TO provide them healthy activity and opportunity, we have decided to send our team to Pakistan to have maximum international exposure. There was no suitable side than Pakistan to play against as they are one of the best sides and the most respected teams of the world and to play with them will also help in bridging gap between the people of both the countrie.” PCCAI chief believed.
Meanwhile, PCAPH chairman Abbas Hashmi said: “We are feeling proud with the respect and love we received here in India in such a short time. We are here to promote love, peace, harmony and to play positive cricket and we present love from the government and people of Pakistan to the Indian people.”
Pakistan team held their net practice session yesterday at Nihar Singh Cricket Stadium where first ODI to be played between the two countries. All the 16 players participated in the practice session conducted by coach M Tahir.
“We would give tough time to India to return as winners as our team is well-balanced and the players are capable of beating any given opposition,” said Pakistan's captain Fayyaz.
Team manager Nasir Mehmood said: “The boys are in high spirits and we have selected a very good squad comprising youth and experience while our spinners will be the key in the series. Nihal and Kashif Nawaz are our secret weapons having ability to destroy any opposition with their accurate and good spin bowling.”
The series should provide as a mean to bridge the gap between the two arch-rivals and promote healthy activities for the disabled. It is pertinent to mention here that neither the governments, PCB or BCCI are funding the hadicapped cricket boards.