Barbados has been
synonymous with cricket since the 1800's so it was not surprising that the
island was also in the forefront with it's creation of the first blind cricket
program in the Caribbean in 2001.
territorial matches have since been played with much
success. Barbados hosted the first
regional tournament in 2006 and in the same year, became the first territory to establish the Barbados Blind Cricket Association. This was followed by the creation of the Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket
Association, T & T Blind Cricket Association. (Trinidad and Tobago) and
Guyana Blind Cricket Association
There have been many
"firsts" for Barbados, so at a time when global awareness of accessibility and
inclusion are at the forefront, might
Barbados once again demonstrate its leadership by expanding its blind cricket
program to include an all disability
Cricket and How it has Survived and Evolved into Including Persons with all Disabilities
The earliest cricket may have developed by the 8th century or
earlier from ancient bat-and-ball games
from the region between North
India and Pakistan. The trend traveled
through Persia (now called Iran) and into Europe and Great Britain. Initially, the game was called
"creagh" or "cricke"
by the Normans who conquered England in 1066.
Cricket was banned
from 1300 - 1500 A.D. as monarchs and British barons favoured archery (which would serve as a
military advantage) over "such a
disreputable activity that only idlers, gamblers and dissolute characters
played". Outlaws such as Robin Hood were
rumoured to having been excellent players along with famous political leader
idea of "adaptive sports" came in the form of deaf cricket as far back as 1895 when the
first deaf cricket interstate match was held in South Australia. In Great Britain, deaf cricket started out
as a Great Britain Team (part of the British Deaf Sports Council) with a trip in 1988 to the West Indies by a
squad of 15 players to play some matches against local teams.
In 1922, blind
cricket was developed by Australia. At the time of a Test Match, two creative residents thought "blind people
could play cricket as well, and put rocks in a tin can" and began to play a
crude version of the modern day cricket .
Blind cricket has also been played in England and Wales
since the 1940's. While the England and Wales
Cricket Board, established
in 1997 in the U.K., is the single national governing body for all
cricket in England and Wales and provides access to the sport of cricket for
persons with disabilities, the British Blind Sport
(BBS) and Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) are the
organizations who are responsible for the day to day running of the sport.
Emotional and Learning Disabilities
Along with the blind
and deaf cricket, the Hampshire Cricket
Board which was setup in 1998 in the U.K., has developed categories and programs for persons with physical, emotional and learning disabilities, HCB, whose mission statement is "to provide a
cricketing future for all" has one of the most advanced disability cricket
in the country and
works with professional players and coaches in assisting players with
disabilities in training and competition .
One of the newest
programs HCB has launched is the Bluebird Care Elite Player Development Program
for cricketers with disabilities who have international potential. Hampshire Talented
Athlete Scheme was formed to provide support services to
these talented athletes based on their performance levels.
The HCB also supports
the Hampshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club in providing opportunities for the blind and partially
as Youth Development
Cricket for Change was setup
in 1981 and targets disadvantaged youth as well as disabled youth. Just recently, the team has traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to introduce a new
program called "Street20" which is
a crime reduction program proven to be very successful in the U.K.
As well, the team traveled to Jamaica in 2009 to launch The Courtney Walsh
Foundation which replicates the Cricket for Change
programs specifically for males and females 18 - 21.
cricket, the rules and regulations are
disability specific, however there is no recognized international cricket for
people with physical disabilities at the
present, therefore the rules are
based on a domestic structure called DSE profiling system for athletes with
physical impairments also known as the Coaches Guide to Functional Ability.
receives recognition for its
excellence in regular and blind cricket as well as being a cricketing
destination. Through the "Fully Accessible
Barbados" initiative launched by the BCD in 2005, Barbados has
taken leadership in creating a culture of inclusion. The island is also known for its mantra of
"can do" in the cricket world. The
cricket community along with the regular community has recognized and acknowledged
what talented cricketers can contribute to the game rather than what their
With 14,000 persons
with disabilities on the island, (in England and Wales there are between 3,000
and 4,000 persons with disabilities playing regular or occasional cricket at
present), creating an all disability
cricket program would be welcomed. Such
a program would give persons with all types of disabilities an opportunity to
play the sport of their island where they could develop their self confidence
and social skills. As well, the camaraderie
along with the exhilaration and excitement of international competition can be
experienced for the first time.
introduce programs similar to the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme to
recognize and support those disabled cricketers who demonstrate exceptional
performance and could be considered for international competition
The island could draw on the expertise of other cricket boards such as the Hampshire
Cricket Board and the English and Wales Cricket Board. As well, Barbados could seek
the support and input from non profit organizations such as BARNOD, Barbados Council for
the Disabled, Disabled Peoples'
Organization of North America and the Caribbean (DPOC) and Disabled People's International. There
are ample resources to access with the
deaf, physical, learning, and emotional disabilities programs already in
place. The combined efforts could serve well to set the ground work for
education and training programs to
encompass all the Caribbean islands and beyond.
Cricket for Change,
Street20 and The Courtney Walsh Foundation would be excellent programs to
integrate into the cricket world of Barbados.
Although the crime rate is low in Barbados, it is a known fact that sometimes
poverty goes hand-in-hand with disabilities and where there is poverty, there
is crime; particularly among youths. Street20
has been successful in reducing crime amongst the youth stating
that "the more kids play the more skills
they develop, they learn cooperation, discipline and working with a team
without getting angry; it has had a lot
of success bringing communities together ",
as the Caribbean's Champion and Host of Disability Cricket
On May 31, 2011,
Hampshire Cricket announced that the Barbados Tourism
Authority will become the Official Twenty20
Shirt Sponsor and Travel Partner to Hampshire Cricket
and The Rose Bowl. Upon a previous visit
to Barbados, Hampshire Cricket Group Commercial Director, Zac Toumazi said that
Barbados' facilities and hospitality were
"second to none" and that "We
hope that, in our own way, we can bring awareness to the jewel in the Caribbean
that is Barbados."
Might there be a
possibility that similar arrangements can be made with disability cricket? Perhaps the Barbados Tourism Authority could
consider reciprocal agreements with disability cricket programs in England,
Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh
If Barbados were to
host all disability cricket tournaments,
the potential for increased tourism would be significant. Regular cricket teams already visit Barbados
annually and Test matches, especially between England and Australia alone bring
in thousands, so the numbers would increase substantially.
creating a disability cricket program could reaffirm Barbados' position as leader in
accessibility, inclusion and adaptive sports in the Caribbean. Moreover, this
positive endeavour could contribute significantly to the enhancement of
the initiative of "Fully Accessible