THE STORY OF A DEAF BRIT HOSTING AN INTERNATIONAL DEAF CRICKET TOUR IN THE SHARJAH DESERT

Date: Wednesday 16th November 2022 

THE STORY OF A DEAF BRIT HOSTING AN INTERNATIONAL DEAF CRICKET TOUR IN THE SHARJAH DESERT

Left to right: Stefan Pichowski (DICC Chairman), Virender Singh (victorious Indian Captain), Mr. Muhammad Zahir Uddin Babar (DICC CEO) and Mr. Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager of the ICC Integrity Unit presenting the Trophy to the winning captain. 

  • DICC T20 CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2022 (UAE) – 2ndto 9th October 2022

Whilst all the cricket fans, attention and media focused on the ▶ ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022, there was yet another pinnacle International Cricket tournament taking place in the middle of the Sharjah desert at the Malek Cricket Stadium in Ajman (UAE).

Four National Deaf teams from Australia, Bangladesh, India and South Africa participated to create a historical tournament for many reasons: - floodlit matches taking place daily, “DRS” was used for the first time in Deaf cricket, the return of the supersub was that embraced by all teams, especially playing in the remotely hot desert and the birth ot the innovative streaming of ▶ DICC TV - YouTube .

The Malek Cricket Stadium is ICC accredited and have hosted numerous ICC Member Associate matches, the stadium management were only all too gleeful to offer to host the DICC event to add onto their impressive profile of events. 

The DICC Executive Committee team accomplished what seems the impossible at times with a couple of changes to the venues due to global political pressures, cost of living crisis in Sri Lanka that led to Cricket Sri Lanka to relocate Asia Cup to the UAE and its major venues, in addition, teams were not able to participate due to climate change and economic barriers.  There were exceptional saviours for Bangladesh and India with the kind hospitality of Sharjah Group International and this was totally unprecedented within the history of DICC. 

Trading, hustling and bustling within negotiations is always a cultural shock to the onlooking Western eyes but being demographically based at the gateway between East and West, there were continuing last-minute resolutions, often in the twilight hours and beyond when the candles were burning at both ends!

The obscene headline of this article is deceiving as the true nature of the teamwork achieved by the DICC Executive Committee, which was led by the commendable DICC CEO, Mr. Muhammad Zahir Uddin Babar, who worked tirelessly with partners including the hotel, venue, production teams and the participating teams.  This was without any rewards except for the project that is the DICC T20 Champions Trophy 2022 (UAE).  The DICC Chairman is indeed the Deaf “Brit”, whilst the rest of the Executive Committee members are Deaf delegates from South Africa, India and Pakistan. 

Most of the communication took place mainly with mixed national and international sign language via virtual video calls, in hotel car parks, pavilion, hotel rooms, offices, transactions, banks and even in jewellery shops!  The details, the complex sign languages, the capacity to express and receive communication in diverse spoken and non-verbal languages is a wonder and awe even for the most diverse diplomats and delegates around the international world.  The following quote, “Only the unprepared are overcome by pressure”, is a testimony to the DICC CEO who dealt with every challenge that was thrown at DICC and passed with flying colours. 

The four teams led by their 4 captains, left to right below, Shahriar Ahmed Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Andrew Park (Australia), Virender Singh (India) and Colin Venter (South Africa) also undertook their own determination, months of preparations and personal sacrifices to accomplish their dreams of wearing their national jerseys, caps and with aspiring lifelong dreams to lift the Trophy in their country’s name.  

14 matches were played throughout the tournament, starting with an official T20 warm-up matches for the tournament, Australia beat a lacklustre looking Indian team, and in the other match, South Africa were all too dominant and looked the early tournament favourites by beating Bangladesh in a convincingly manner.

6 group matches were played in all, with the games each day starting at 12noon with the "cool" and dry desert breeze providing solemn little solace for the 36-42oC heat!  The night-time matches, starting at 4.30pm, indeed saw the temperatures scarcely drop as the intense humidity pushed the human body and mind to the limit for even the fittest athletes.  India won all their group matches after their dismal start to the tour and the group standings were finely tuned for the Qualifier 1, Eliminator, Qualifier 2 for the route to the Final.  Every match had twists, turns, drama, context and purpose, the coolest heads armed with a long batting line-up, array of fast bowlers with the backup of the spinners saw India lifting the Trophy, which was duly presented by Alex Marshall, the ICC’s Special Chief Guest, in front of thousands of DICC TV viewers, guests and the delighted supporters. 

It was fitting that, Indian Deaf Cricket Association, with a proud cricket nation of billions of cricket fans supporting them and urging them to lift the DICC T20 Champions Trophy. Tears of joy, jubilation, social media and media scrutiny witnessed the victory and even the introduction of "Beethoven" to Deaf Cricket at the finale of the Final on DICC TV! ▶Finale of the DICC T20 Champions Trophy 2022 (UAE) 🙌 - YouTube

The runners-up, South Africa, who started very strongly, with their all-round swashbuckling big hitters, but had almost nothing left in the tank during a punishing schedule.  Third placed, Bangladesh, and fourth placed, Australia, gave close contests throughout and were both worthy of mention throughout the tournament as there were many close upsets on the cards.  

All four participating teams have their own personal narratives and journeys, and some readers may even ask, what is Deaf cricket?  How is it different to mainstream cricket?  How does communication work and what is the pathway to Deaf cricket?  What were such the challenges of hosting this tournament?

Some of the personal stories can be found below and the last clip shows a fascinating insight into the Indian Deaf fast bowler, Fahimuddin, as he felt that he had the ability to play professional cricket.

To ensure a level playing field during the DICC T20 Champions Trophy, the regulations were as follows: -

Suffice to say, there are the odd moment of “comic” and chaos due to non-verbal communication tactics, and without further ado to embarrassing others, we can put one’s own name to “shame” by outlining some of the typical on-field challenges for Deaf cricketers despite the obvious natural talents they may possess: -

Leading up to the tour to Australia for the Deaf Ashes 2004, England Cricket Association for the Deaf played against UK hosts, Sunderland CC, consisting of the likes of former internationals such as Franklyn Rose (West Indies) and, left armer, Simon Brown (England) in their team.  This was a true stern and test for the England team who wanted to finish off the English season in style. 

One was fielding at 2nd slip, without hearing aids to accustom and practicing for all Deaf matches ahead.  During the tense Sunderland’s chase of the first innings and England’s total of 220+ in 50 overs, there was a top edge, the ball appeared to float infinitely in the air as though a parachute was attached.  When the ball eventually landed between one and the England Deaf wicketkeeper, the two stared at each other in horror and realising the sheer audacity of letting a standard catch go wanting.

To say that the players were bemused to see the legendary Franklyn Rose, laughing on his knees at the non-strikers’ end, was putting it mildly and didn’t go down well!  As a result. new fielding tactics especially for Deaf cricket were introduced to the team shortly after the now infamous mishap…. Tactical non-verbal communication strategies springs to mind. 

When approaching Deaf Cricket, supporters often ask what is the purpose of Deaf Cricket and what is different or unique about it? 

As Deaf communities around the world faces daily challenges and typical barriers to communication, access to information, employment, education, social inclusion particularly in cricket and sport. DICC, as a registered non-for-profit company, pledges to support the Deaf communities with such opportunities for participation, volunteers, coaching, selection, admin roles within DICC events around the world.   

DICC have produced their ▶ 5-year business plan and are seeking to fulfil social corporate responsibilities.  For Deaf people or hearing volunteers around the world, they are advised to contact their national Deaf Cricket Associations, you can refer to the current DICC list of National Members on here ▶ 

DICC Members formally affiliated or recognized by their respective ICC Members: -

  • Afghanistan (FULL)
  • Australia (FULL)
  • Bangladesh (FULL)
  • England (FULL)
  • Hong Kong (Associate)
  • Nepal (Associate)
  • India (FULL)
  • Qatar (Associate)
  • Pakistan (FULL)
  • South Africa (FULL)
  • Sri Lanka (FULL)

Following DICC Members are working in progress with respective ICC Members to gain affiliation or recognition

  • Canada
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Zimbabwe

 

Standings: -

  • Winner: - Indian Deaf Cricket Association (Prize money: AED 5, 000) 
  • Runners-up: - Deaf Cricket South Africa (Prize money: AED 3, 000) 
  • Third placed: - Bangladesh Deaf Cricket Association
  • Fourth placed: - Cricket Australia’s National Deaf team (DICC Member: Deaf Cricket Australia
  • Points Table: - DICC T20 Champions Trophy 2022 - Points Table

Leaderboard: - 

  • Bat: – Akib Mahamud (Bangladesh) 213 runs, average 71, SR: 105.45
  • Bowl: – Kuldeep Singh (India) 10 wickets, average 7.5, economy: 5.77
  • Most valuable players:

Arthur McGee

South Africa

33

David Melling

Australia

30.6

Akib Mahamud

Bangladesh

29.5

Virender Singh

India

23.6

Reinahrdt Kumalo

South Africa

22.4

 

Highlights of overall statistics in the DICC T20 Champions Trophy 2022 (UAE): -  

  • 12 matches
  • 2927 runs
  • 161 wickets
  • 322 extras
  • 174 fours
  • 53 sixes
  • 9 half centuries
  • 12 50+ partnerships
  • 1266 dot balls / 7 maidens
  • 27 catches / 4 stumpings
  • Full scorecards available on DICC T20 Champions Trophy 2022 - CricHeroes 

DICC XII Team of the Champions Trophy 2022 

Based on MVP / CricHeroes ranking points system: -  

Position

Player

Country

1

David Melling

Australia

2

Arthur McGee

South Africa

3

Akib Mahammud

Bangladesh

4

Akash Singh

India

5

Virender Singh*

India

6

Reinahrdt Limbach

South Africa

7

Eric Minaar (wk)

South Africa

8

Afsar Uddin Riad

Bangladesh

9

Rual Kumalo

South Africa 

10

Kuldeep Singh

India

11

Yashwanth

India

12th man

Sivesh Poonsamy-Muthoo

South Africa 

 

The DICC Chairman send special thanks and the tributes goes to: -

  • Muhammad Zahir Uddin Babar (DICC CEO) for his tireless work, daily and many nights over the last 18 months to make the impossible dream happen
  • Michael Lombard (DICC Secretary)
  • Sumit Jain (DICC Treasurer)
  • World class scoring platform: CricHeroes
  • NOC: Emirates Cricket Board
  • Social media platform: International Cricket Council
  • ICC Special Guest: Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager of the ICC Integrity Unit
  • Ajman Cricket Council: Mohammed Saif (Instagram: @mohammad_saif)
  • Umpires, scorers and referees: Muhammad Afzal, Akhtar Hussain, Umar Farooq, Nadim Anjum, Waqar Latif, Asif Chaudhary. Iftiqar Ali.

  • DICC Members: Deaf Cricket Australia, Bangladesh Deaf Cricket Association, Indian Deaf Cricket Association and Deaf Cricket South Africa
  • ICC Members support: Cricket Australia and Deaf Cricket South Africa
  • Coaching, management and other official staff of all 4 teams 
  • Supporting with hospitality for BDCA and IDCA: Sharjah Charity International
  • Water supplier: Cafeteria Kabab Karachi
  • Food and transfers: Nejoum Al Emirates Hotel (Sharjah)
  • Kent County Council for supporting the DICC Chairman
  • DICC TV YouTube channel: AM Creative Production
  • Photography: Hanuman Ram (student from Rajasthan, India)

Without those above, none of the remarkable human stories, catches, wickets, runs, team banter, narratives and personal milestones would have happened without the help of everyone involved. 

Roll on the DICC T20 World Cup 2023!

 

 

 

- Stefan Pichowski (DICC Chairman) - 

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DlCC Secretary: Mr. Michael Lombard | michael.lombard@newbridge.co.za | Secretary Office: P.O.Box 294 Cape Gate, Western Cape, South Africa 7562 Mobile: +27798844451 (SMS) | Facebook (DICC): https://www.facebook.com/deafICC/ | Twitter:  DICC (Deaf International Cricket Council) @DICCdeafcricket | Telegram: (DICC (Deaf International Cricket Council): https://t.me/DeafICC | w - www.dicc.com | CEO: @MZahirUdinBabar | Chairman: @stefanpichowski |