RAWALPINDI -  Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association (PDCA) Chairman Saleem Karim said Saturday he formed PDCA to provide disabled cricketers a platform, where they could showcase their skills in the best possible manner and become useful citizens, rather than dependent on others.

Talking to the Nation prior to his departure to Karachi after successfully conducting the 6th National Disabled T20 Cricket Championship 2017-18 at Rawalpindi and Islamabad, he said he had faced a lot of difficulties and humiliation at the hands of fellow kids during his childhood days. “My fellow friends usually did not let me play cricket with them due to my disability and on occasions when they didn’t have option. I was a spinner but could not put much wait on my legs and they did not let me bowl or bat for same reason. I felt devastated and almost quit cricket for several years but cricket was in my blood. After several years’ absence and getting married, Allah Almighty gave me lot of wealth and it helped me once again to pay back in the best possible manner. I met with different friends and informed them about my dream of having a disabled cricket team so no one can bother disabled cricketers and let them play freely. Rashid Latif and few other friends were highly supportive and they not only highly appreciated my idea but also offered all out help. So the Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association was formed in 2007 and we managed to find 16 players. Slowly but gradually we spread the association and conducted first national championship with four teams and now by the grace of Almighty, we have more than 1600 players and 16 teams participated in the national championship.”

He said the PDCA was also planning to form A and U-19 teams as well as establishing an academy in Karachi in the first phase and then spread it to other major cities as well.

When asked about he had spent millions from his personal pocket and whether his wife and children oppose that Karim swiftly replied: “My family was not aware of that for several years. But after some time, I informed them. Trust me they never ever stopped or barred me for spending money on players and are highly supportive.”

He said after facing many hurdles and problems he had managed to make his dream keep going because of unmatchable support of his friends. However, he made it clear that he never taken any monetary help from his friends and had spent only from his own pocket and through passage of time they had found few sponsors and the ship has started to sail smoothly. “We have sent teams abroad and results were very good. I will like thank Pakistan Cricket Board for helping us and allowing us to wear national blazer, which is not easy to express in words. It was my dream to represent Pakistan and wear national color but that dream unfortunately never materialized as a player. But I am highly thankful to Allah for taking another job from me and I consider all these players like if I am playing for Pakistan and I feel all the achievements of boys are mine.”

He said he wanted to provide jobs and central contracts to players, which was not an easy task but to start they would offer central contracts to 20 players and then expand it to more players. “As the funds position improves, things will move in right direction. We don’t need money or any other benefit from anybody we just want respect and giving disabled players their due right.”