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HomeSportsCricketer Sai Akash scripts success at the Bilateral International Deaf Series

Cricketer Sai Akash scripts success at the Bilateral International Deaf Series

Sai Akash with his award
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sai Akash proudly holds up a medal, the blues of his cricket jersey matching the bright blue skies in Birmingham, United Kingdom. While the entire country erupted in joy a few days ago when the Indian Men’s Cricket team lifted the T20 World Cup in Barbados, Sai Akash was part of a team that was also scripting their own success story. 

In the Bilateral International Deaf Series, the Indian Deaf Men’s team which he is the vice captain of, emerged victorious, winning five out of the seven matches they played. For this Chennai-based cricketer, the joy was double — having also been named the player of the series. He scored 271 runs, and was the highest run scorer of the series.

“While I struggled in the first match because I didn’t know how the English cricket pitch would be, I scored four half centuries in the remaining matches. I was extremely happy with the encouragement from the ECB (England Cricket Board) and the British commentators regarding my batting,” Sai says, in a text interview. 

For the 28-year-old cricketer, cricketing aspirations slowly began to take shape from the time he was a child playing street cricket . He dreamt about playing for the country. “The thrill of the game and the sheer joy of playing cricket kept me going. Over time, my passion for cricket only grew stronger, leading me to pursue it at the highest level,” he says. 

A lack of specialised coaches for players who are hearing-impaired meant that Sai initially did not have a formal coaching set up to hone his skills. “I learned a lot from YouTube and from my seniors. I also had part-time coaching through friends, playing matches, and net practice,” he says. Citing Suresh Raina as a particularly important inspiration, Sai says he shares the same birthday and jersey number with the former cricketer. “I admired his attitude, humble dedication, first-ever T20 century, and sportsmanship. His example motivated me to take the game seriously.” 

The Deaf Indian Cricket team at Birmingham

The Deaf Indian Cricket team at Birmingham
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

In the run up to the series in the UK, the team, comprising players from across the country met for practice camps. Sai, and his teammate, all-rounder E Sudarsun were the only two players from Tamil Nadu. With his experience of playing to the sunny climes of India, Sai says he found the weather in Birmingham “cold and awesome.’

“Our Deaf Team India that won this series has dedicated and passionate players from various parts of the country. Despite the challenges, we come together to train and prepare at different local academies and grounds. Many of us use online resources and rely on support from local coaches, friends, and senior players,” Sai says, heaping praise on his teammates through this successful tour.  

Reflecting on his own journey, Sai says that aspiring deaf cricketers should not let any challenges deter them from pursuing their passion for the sport. “Embrace your unique journey and use it as motivation to excel. Seek out opportunities to learn and improve, whether through online resources, local coaching, or support from fellow players,” he says. 

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