Alam Khan, the skipper of Bangladesh physically challenged cricket team, embarks on a new mission when ICRC five-nation cricket tournament commences in Dhaka. Before the tournament Alam speaks to New Age’s Atif Azam over the challenges and prospects of the
Bangladesh physically challenged team. Here are the excerpts.NA: How encouraging it is to be a part of a tournament like this?
AK: It cannot be expressed in words. It is a great platform for us who are not included in the mainstream game due to our disabilities. There are a lot of people like us who are not allowed to take part in any competition for their physical limitations. ICRC and BCB have taken the initiative to build the platform and we are grateful to them.
NA: How did you get involved in this tournament?
AK: There was a talent hunt programme and later we were picked for a three-month long residential camp and that’s how the team was formed.
NA: What is the biggest obstacle of playing this kind of cricket?
AK: Firstly you cannot ignore that we are physically challenged. We do have some problems with our hands or legs. But despite all these, we had trained for the last three months under the guidance of our coaches. It’s true that as we are disabled and for that reason we were always left in the back bench.
NA: How much support was required from the family?
AK: You need to have that support or else it would not have been possible for us to take part in this kind of competition. Still they always have two minds regarding our participations. Because the game involves cricket bat and ball, so they have the fear that we may get hurt. So they sometime discourage us despite being encouraging often. Usually they hold the mind set that you cannot do it. There can be an accident or if you get hurt on the back of your disability you will suffer throughout your life and nobody will care you at that point of your life.
NA: Is this first cricket competition for people with disability?
AK: Yes. In Bangladesh this is the first kind of a tournament. We played a tournament in India. But for most of us this is the first competitive tournament of our life.
NA: Do you think domestic tournament should be introduced in Bangladesh?
AK: I think there should be domestic tournament for physically challenged in Bangladesh. Clubs and affluent people should come forward to give us such a platform that can help us eliminating the faux-concept in the people’s mind regarding the disabilities of the physically challenged people.
NA: What is next in store for you?
AK: Let’s see what comes up next. It all depends how we fare in this tournament. Probably the board will decide their next course of action after looking forward to our performance.
NA: How hopeful are you with your squad?
AK: Look, we have just started playing cricket so you cannot expect success overnight. England, Pakistan and India are regularly organising cricket for physically challenged persons for the last eight to 10 years. Still the way we have shaped up we have the confidence that we can beat them on our day. We are informed about the weakness and strength of our opponents and we are working toward them.
NA: Any regret?
AK: Look, we should be called physically challenged instead of disable as the demeaning nature of the word hurts us. I agree that we are not totally capable like other human beings but disable is a very discouraging term. We don’t feel that we are disabled and at times we feel we can also compete with the other people who are called ‘able’.
-With New Age input