The five-day cricket training for the visually impaired women players concluded here at the Shalimar Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

The camp which began on November 5 was sponsored by the Australian High Commission (AHC) in collaboration with the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC).

The training builds on Australia’s support to PBCC in the formation of Pakistan’s first blind women cricket team in 2018, which played its first international Twenty20 game last year.

Speaking at the award-giving ceremony of the camp, the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Geoffrey Shaw said Australia’s support aims to provide more women and girls with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy sport, compete and demonstrate their ability.

“Sport can help reduce gender stereotypes and negative perceptions associated with people with disabilities.

Australia and Pakistan share a passion for cricket, so we are happy to support the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council’s efforts to bring women and girls living with disabilities into the sport,” he said.

To a question, he said the Australian players that featured in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) have returned as ambassadors of Pakistan.

Senators Faisal Javed, Zeeshan Khanzada and Member National Assembly Zil-e-Huma were also present on the occasion.

PBCC Chairman Syed Sultan Shah, said, “Cricket for the blind is a highly competitive game which enables people with visual impairment to become people of vision, a vision of an accessible future full of exciting opportunities for all,” he said.

He said Pakistan blind cricket team has numerous records in their kitty from being played seven Blind Cricket World Cup finals to winning 14 bilateral series out of 16.

“We did not lose to teams of Australia, England and South Africa and Pakistan was supplying blind cricket balls to 10 countries,” he said.

Taking advantage of Senator Faisal Javed’s presence, he requested him to kindly peruse the blind cricket stadium’s case which was on the verge of completion.

“We want the stadium which was the first of its kind in the whole world, to be handed over to us,” he said.

Senator Faisal Javed who was amazed with the Pakistan blind cricket team performances, said we should all promote such causes.

“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the one to come up with a comprehensive policy for differently-abled people. Prime Minister Imran Khan has a clear vision and his goal is to revive sports in Pakistan,” he said.

He said sports infrastructure was not good in the country. “There is a great need for grounds in Pakistan on which the government is working but we need things to be implemented.

Many grounds were built in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and will also be made in the country,” he said.

He said the blind cricket team should also be promoted just like the national side.

“The record of Pakistan blind cricket team is better than the national side. I will also check the implementation status of the blind cricket stadium,” he said.

Faisal said the blind cricket players were the pride of Pakistan. “I request the media to show their matches live as to promote blind team,” he said and added to raise the voice of the blind cricket team in the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Committee as well.

Member National Assembly Zil-e-Huma lauded AHC and PBCC Chairman for holding the training camp. “A normal player can’t deliver the way these players were,” she said.

The training camp concluded with a demonstration match played between the women players.

The players were imparted training about batting, bowling, fielding and other techniques of the game in the camp. The selected blind women would also have chance to represent Pakistan at international level.

A total of 25 women players from North Zone were trained by highly skilled coaches and trainers in the camp.

At the closing ceremony cash prizes and trophies were awarded to players Saba Gul (B1), Mehwish (B2) and Kiran (B3) while souvenirs were given to the guests.