New Zealand’s blind cricket team are touring South Africa for seven matches against the hosts, all set to be played in Cape Town.
The tour, which consists of five T20 Internationals and two ODIs, sees the two nations taking part in their first-ever bilateral series.
South Africa and New Zealand square off in historic series
The action kicks off on Tuesday, just as the Proteas host world champions England at Newlands, and concludes on Friday 14 February.
South Africa has enjoyed some success in cricket for the visually impaired, winning the inaugural Blind Cricket World Cup in 1998.
This was after beating Pakistan in the final.
Since then, they have experienced mixed fortunes in the tournament, reaching the final in 2002, and the semis in 2014 after not making it past the group stage in the previous edition.
They also made history in 2000 by competing in the first-ever blind cricket Test match.
On that occasion, South Africa faced Pakistan and would go on to lose the match by 94 runs.
How blind cricket is played
While blind cricket follows most of the game’s basic rules, it has its special modifications designed to assist the visually impaired players.
Instead of the usual hard leather ball, a more hollow plastic ball with metal bearings inside is used.
The bearings make a noise which makes it easy for players to track the ball.
Bowling in this version is done with an underarm action, rolled along the ground, while batsman usually opts for horizontal-bat shots such as a sweep as a preferred run-scoring method.
Metal stumps, other than the wooden version, are used in Blind Cricket. The more audible noise they make when clattered lets the players know when the batsman has been bowled or stumped.
Players in each team are divided into categories.
Each team is allowed to field up to four players who are completely blind. These are termed as “category B1” players.
Category B2 are partially sighted players, including those able to pick up shapes, going up to those with a visual field of up to five degrees. Three players in this category can be fielded by a team.
The last category is B3, which is players with a visual field of less than 20 degrees.
There are special considerations for B1 players, such as the use of a runner, as well as doubling up each run that comes off the bat, as to not disadvantage the team in terms of run rate.
Originally published on The South African – http://bit.ly/3bb7n1A