Tag Archives: Hassan Khan

Love of the beautiful game!

Love for the beautiful game by Hassan Khan

Hear from Hassan Khan on his love for the beautiful game of cricket!

“Cricket has been the vehicle to greater things in my life”

original post by activityalliance.org.uk

Hello, I’m Hassan, a proud southwest Londoner. I’m 32 years-old and I’m registered blind. I’m a former England VI cricketer, currently playing cricket for Metro Blind Sport’s two cricket teams, Metro and the Metro Devils – which I captain.

My love for cricket started to grow from an early age. I grew up in Pakistan in a village of 200-300 people, where the game of cricket was adored by all. I used to play in living rooms, dusty streets, grounds and slums across the country. It was a game for the rich and the poor but sadly, not if you were blind.

I lost my sight at the age of three but I would carry a bat around following my dad. He allowed his friends to bowl to me and they would call me little Imran Khan. The cards I was dealt with in my early life meant, education, cricket or any sort of an active lifestyle was utterly inaccessible. Alas, the love of my life and I quickly parted, perhaps even at that age, I realised cricket was not written in my script.

However, at the age of 17 I got hold of that long forgotten script, read it, ripped a few of the pages and started a chapter of my own.

My PE teacher introduced me to the game I once loved, but now accessible for me, I quickly learned I still maintained some of my skills and I fell head over heels in love with cricket again. I found myself training with Metro Blind Sport, a London-based charity which aims to open doors to sport for all visually impaired people, no matter their age or ability. Their standard of blind cricket was just breath-taking. I didn’t think I’d ever pull on a Metro shirt in a competitive match but I did.

I didn’t just discover cricket at Metro Blind Sport, I discovered independence, freedom and a new lease of life. Cricket became the vehicle to greater things in life, such as university, volunteering, employment, living on my own and the greatest achievement of all, representing my country.

The highlight of my cricketing career has to be winning The Ashes on Australia day! This was the sweetest day of my life.

The active lifestyle I now lead allows me to be fit mentally and physically – sometimes I find it beneficial to stay away from my thoughts, and playing and training allows me to achieve this. It also allows me to enjoy camaraderie and build relationships. I really enjoy competition and so playing cricket internationally or nationally allows me to compete for trophies and personal awards which I relish.

Being active also keeps me balanced and motivated which really helps in my daily life. Some of the skills I practise on the field I’m then able to take into work, one good example of this is leadership.

Cricket takes me through a variety of emotions. When I’m preparing for a match, initially I feel quite proud. During the game I do put a lot of pressure on myself and I feel quite tense and lost in the moment. After a game my physical and mental wellbeing purely depends on the final result of the game. If it’s a loss I do feel terrible, I ache and I go into reflect mode. Naturally, winning makes me feel great – I love celebrating a victory with my teammates.

The support of my teammates has been really important to me. I rely heavily on them for support on and off the field, particularly advice and support from the senior players, such as Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy CEO at Activity Alliance. He has played a major role in my development and aided me in settling into the England VI team in the 2006 World Cup.

Thanks to that support network and friendship I now have the confidence to offer support to other players. For me, cricket is a family sport, so family, friends and teammates are crucial, particularly on away tours when you are stuck in hotels for weeks and you need that support element.

My advice to other disabled people who are thinking about being more active but not sure how is – reach out to charities who will do everything in their power to support you, or sign post you to organisations that can assist with our goals. If you should choose to try something active today, you are more than likely to make new friends, improve the quality of your life and discover the inner you, which is empowering to say the least. Worst case scenario, you may decide it isn’t for you, but at least you know within yourself you tried something new, something out of the ordinary.

Unlike me, you may not appreciate competitive sports and that’s absolutely fine. There are development leagues in cricket and Metro Blind Sport actually deliver different visually impaired friendly sporting activities in London.

by Hassan Khan

 

Love of the beautiful game!

Love for the beautiful game by Hassan Khan

Hear from Hassan Khan on his love for the beautiful game of cricket!

“Cricket has been the vehicle to greater things in my life”

original post by activityalliance.org.uk

Hello, I’m Hassan, a proud southwest Londoner. I’m 32 years-old and I’m registered blind. I’m a former England VI cricketer, currently playing cricket for Metro Blind Sport’s two cricket teams, Metro and the Metro Devils – which I captain.

My love for cricket started to grow from an early age. I grew up in Pakistan in a village of 200-300 people, where the game of cricket was adored by all. I used to play in living rooms, dusty streets, grounds and slums across the country. It was a game for the rich and the poor but sadly, not if you were blind.

I lost my sight at the age of three but I would carry a bat around following my dad. He allowed his friends to bowl to me and they would call me little Imran Khan. The cards I was dealt with in my early life meant, education, cricket or any sort of an active lifestyle was utterly inaccessible. Alas, the love of my life and I quickly parted, perhaps even at that age, I realised cricket was not written in my script.

However, at the age of 17 I got hold of that long forgotten script, read it, ripped a few of the pages and started a chapter of my own.

My PE teacher introduced me to the game I once loved, but now accessible for me, I quickly learned I still maintained some of my skills and I fell head over heels in love with cricket again. I found myself training with Metro Blind Sport, a London-based charity which aims to open doors to sport for all visually impaired people, no matter their age or ability. Their standard of blind cricket was just breath-taking. I didn’t think I’d ever pull on a Metro shirt in a competitive match but I did.

I didn’t just discover cricket at Metro Blind Sport, I discovered independence, freedom and a new lease of life. Cricket became the vehicle to greater things in life, such as university, volunteering, employment, living on my own and the greatest achievement of all, representing my country.

The highlight of my cricketing career has to be winning The Ashes on Australia day! This was the sweetest day of my life.

The active lifestyle I now lead allows me to be fit mentally and physically – sometimes I find it beneficial to stay away from my thoughts, and playing and training allows me to achieve this. It also allows me to enjoy camaraderie and build relationships. I really enjoy competition and so playing cricket internationally or nationally allows me to compete for trophies and personal awards which I relish.

Being active also keeps me balanced and motivated which really helps in my daily life. Some of the skills I practise on the field I’m then able to take into work, one good example of this is leadership.

Cricket takes me through a variety of emotions. When I’m preparing for a match, initially I feel quite proud. During the game I do put a lot of pressure on myself and I feel quite tense and lost in the moment. After a game my physical and mental wellbeing purely depends on the final result of the game. If it’s a loss I do feel terrible, I ache and I go into reflect mode. Naturally, winning makes me feel great – I love celebrating a victory with my teammates.

The support of my teammates has been really important to me. I rely heavily on them for support on and off the field, particularly advice and support from the senior players, such as Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy CEO at Activity Alliance. He has played a major role in my development and aided me in settling into the England VI team in the 2006 World Cup.

Thanks to that support network and friendship I now have the confidence to offer support to other players. For me, cricket is a family sport, so family, friends and teammates are crucial, particularly on away tours when you are stuck in hotels for weeks and you need that support element.

My advice to other disabled people who are thinking about being more active but not sure how is – reach out to charities who will do everything in their power to support you, or sign post you to organisations that can assist with our goals. If you should choose to try something active today, you are more than likely to make new friends, improve the quality of your life and discover the inner you, which is empowering to say the least. Worst case scenario, you may decide it isn’t for you, but at least you know within yourself you tried something new, something out of the ordinary.

Unlike me, you may not appreciate competitive sports and that’s absolutely fine. There are development leagues in cricket and Metro Blind Sport actually deliver different visually impaired friendly sporting activities in London.

by Hassan Khan

 

Love of the beautiful game!

Love for the beautiful game by Hassan Khan

Hear from Hassan Khan on his love for the beautiful game of cricket!

“Cricket has been the vehicle to greater things in my life”

original post by activityalliance.org.uk

Hello, I’m Hassan, a proud southwest Londoner. I’m 32 years-old and I’m registered blind. I’m a former England VI cricketer, currently playing cricket for Metro Blind Sport’s two cricket teams, Metro and the Metro Devils – which I captain.

My love for cricket started to grow from an early age. I grew up in Pakistan in a village of 200-300 people, where the game of cricket was adored by all. I used to play in living rooms, dusty streets, grounds and slums across the country. It was a game for the rich and the poor but sadly, not if you were blind.

I lost my sight at the age of three but I would carry a bat around following my dad. He allowed his friends to bowl to me and they would call me little Imran Khan. The cards I was dealt with in my early life meant, education, cricket or any sort of an active lifestyle was utterly inaccessible. Alas, the love of my life and I quickly parted, perhaps even at that age, I realised cricket was not written in my script.

However, at the age of 17 I got hold of that long forgotten script, read it, ripped a few of the pages and started a chapter of my own.

My PE teacher introduced me to the game I once loved, but now accessible for me, I quickly learned I still maintained some of my skills and I fell head over heels in love with cricket again. I found myself training with Metro Blind Sport, a London-based charity which aims to open doors to sport for all visually impaired people, no matter their age or ability. Their standard of blind cricket was just breath-taking. I didn’t think I’d ever pull on a Metro shirt in a competitive match but I did.

I didn’t just discover cricket at Metro Blind Sport, I discovered independence, freedom and a new lease of life. Cricket became the vehicle to greater things in life, such as university, volunteering, employment, living on my own and the greatest achievement of all, representing my country.

The highlight of my cricketing career has to be winning The Ashes on Australia day! This was the sweetest day of my life.

The active lifestyle I now lead allows me to be fit mentally and physically – sometimes I find it beneficial to stay away from my thoughts, and playing and training allows me to achieve this. It also allows me to enjoy camaraderie and build relationships. I really enjoy competition and so playing cricket internationally or nationally allows me to compete for trophies and personal awards which I relish.

Being active also keeps me balanced and motivated which really helps in my daily life. Some of the skills I practise on the field I’m then able to take into work, one good example of this is leadership.

Cricket takes me through a variety of emotions. When I’m preparing for a match, initially I feel quite proud. During the game I do put a lot of pressure on myself and I feel quite tense and lost in the moment. After a game my physical and mental wellbeing purely depends on the final result of the game. If it’s a loss I do feel terrible, I ache and I go into reflect mode. Naturally, winning makes me feel great – I love celebrating a victory with my teammates.

The support of my teammates has been really important to me. I rely heavily on them for support on and off the field, particularly advice and support from the senior players, such as Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy CEO at Activity Alliance. He has played a major role in my development and aided me in settling into the England VI team in the 2006 World Cup.

Thanks to that support network and friendship I now have the confidence to offer support to other players. For me, cricket is a family sport, so family, friends and teammates are crucial, particularly on away tours when you are stuck in hotels for weeks and you need that support element.

My advice to other disabled people who are thinking about being more active but not sure how is – reach out to charities who will do everything in their power to support you, or sign post you to organisations that can assist with our goals. If you should choose to try something active today, you are more than likely to make new friends, improve the quality of your life and discover the inner you, which is empowering to say the least. Worst case scenario, you may decide it isn’t for you, but at least you know within yourself you tried something new, something out of the ordinary.

Unlike me, you may not appreciate competitive sports and that’s absolutely fine. There are development leagues in cricket and Metro Blind Sport actually deliver different visually impaired friendly sporting activities in London.

by Hassan Khan

 

England VI off to winning start in Australia!

original article by www.ecb.co.uk

The Lord’s Taverners International Blind Cricket series Australia v England

Australia v England Sat 23rd Jan 2016, Adelaide, Australia

Today was the first ODI and due to the storm that hit Adelaide yesterday the first match of the tournament ( 1st T20 was abandoned due to rain).

Captain Matt Dean led from the front with a man-of-the-match display as England Visually Impaired beat hosts Australia by eight wickets in the opening ODI in Adelaide. England won the toss and sent Australia in to bat in the overcast conditions. The ground remained a little damp from the inclement weather of the previous day, which slowed up the outfield for the home side.

Wickets fell quickly thanks to some great bowling from the England attack, along with some outstanding fielding, which left Australia struggling on 70 for seven off only 13 overs.
However, Ray Moxly and Daniel Pritchard’s ninth-wicket partnership produced a much-needed 150 to steady the ship and Australia ended their innings on 285 for eight.
England dominated in the field to win the series openerEngland dominated in the field to win the series opener – photo © www.ecb.co.uk

England’s Justin Hollingsworth was threatening with every delivery and the 19-year-old was the standout of the bowling unit, taking two critical wickets. Hollingsworth and Dean opened the batting for England with an impressive stand  of 175 off 25.4 overs to put England in a strong position before Hollingsworth’s lbw dismissal for 76.

T20 captain Luke Sugg came in to build the chase with Dean after Pete Blueitt was run out for two. Needing 20 off the last four overs to seal the win, Sugg and Dean put on a 107-partnership to secure the result in the 38th over, with Dean hitting the winning runs and carrying his bat on 96.

Reflecting on the match, Dean said: “Obviously it is always pleasing to have a man-of-the-match performance to help your team win, but today was a real team effort. “Everyone was involved in the field to make sure Australia only scored 285 and we gave a very mature performance chasing down that total.”

Captain Matt Dean scored an unbeaten 96 to carry his batCaptain Matt Dean scored an unbeaten 96 to carry his bat – photo © www.ecb.co.uk
 

The captain was philosophical about his almost-century: “I never worry about my score, I  just bat for the team and was more worried about making sure we got over the line. “I was happy I managed to carry my bat and am now looking forward to the next game tomorrow.”

England Visually Impaired team

Matt Dean (captain)
Justin Hollingsworth
Pete Blueitt
Luke Sugg
Si Ledwith
Mark Turnham
Ed Hossell
Rob Comber
Mahomed Khatri
Dan Field
Hassan Khan

Highlights

England Bowling
Justin Hollingsworth 2-48 off 7
Luke Sugg 1-35 off 6
Ed Hossell 2-43 off 8
Mo Khatri 1-52 off 6

Australia Batting
Ray Moxly – 61
Daniel Pritchard – 89

Australia Bowling
Spencer 1- 62

England Batting
Matt Dean – 96 not out
Justin Hollingsworth – 76 out
Luke Sugg – 53

original article by www.ecb.co.uk

The Blind Batsman: An Interview with Hassan Khan

Hassan Khan batting for England against Australia

Hassan Khan batting for England against Australia at Warwick School in 2012. Photograph: Clint Hughes/Getty Images

original article by    link: www.theguardian.com

One morning, Hassan Khan woke up blind. Neither he nor his family knew it, and wouldn’t for several years yet, but he was suffering from a genetic disorder. His optic nerves had been damaged and he had lost his sight overnight. He was three. Hassan and his family lived in a small village in Pakistan, outside Multan. No one there really knew what to do with a little blind boy. “I didn’t do anything,” Hassan says. “I couldn’t do anything.” He didn’t go to school, didn’t study at all. “My daily routine was to wake up and walk around the shops on my own, visit people’s houses. And that was it,” he says.Hassan learned to listen. He would often eavesdrop and he heard things he should not have. “People used to say to my parents: ‘What is he going to do when he grows up?’ And I used to wonder. I heard people say: ‘God forbid, if something happened to his parents he might be out on the street begging.’ But there was nothing I could do because I didn’t understand what had happened.” No one did.

Hassan is 29 now and a key member of England’s visually impaired cricket team. They play with a small plastic ball, stuffed with ball bearings. Hassan is an excellent fielder at short square leg, a job that requires agility, bravery and extraordinary hearing. In blind cricket the bowler has to bounce the ball twice, in either half of the pitch. So it travels low and batsmen play the sweep shot hard and often. Hassan likes to stand close in so he can get underneath the batsman’s skin. When he’s not talking, he’s listening for the ball, waiting. As soon as he hears the shot, he dives to try to intercept it. “You have to have balls to do it,” he says. “The ball is hit so hard I’m always getting smashed at short square leg.”

He and the rest of the squad have just flown to Adelaide, where they will play eight matches against Australia. He has had to take annual leave from his job with the Thomas Pocklington Trust charity, so he has time to travel and play.

Cricket was always there, in the background. Both Hassan’s parents are crazy for the game. Before he went blind Hassan used to carry a little bat with him. After, he would invite friends around to play games in his family’s back yard. “I would never play; it was so I could watch them and listen to them.” He would tuck a rolled-up newspaper into a hole in the wall, then pretend it was a microphone and commentate on their games. “I made a friend from a poor background. He came and they started playing. He said that he wanted to go and get his own bat. He went – and I knew he was not going to come back.” Later that day, Hassan heard that the boy had died. “He had decided that we were too rich for him and that he wanted to play cricket with his friends near the lake. He was chasing a ball and he fell in and drowned. After that I hated the game.”

Everything changed when Hassan was nine. His younger sister went blind, too, at the very same age as he had done. Hassan’s parents had the medical reports sent to Great Ormond Street hospital. Then they travelled over to talk to the specialists there. The family moved to London in 1995. His father took a job driving a minicab. “It was a battle,” Hassan says. Hassan had never studied. Did not speak any English. Had never met a white person. “And now I was in a land of strangers.” He became even more reclusive. His parents still had no idea what to do with him.

Eventually he was sent to Linden Lodge School for the visually impaired, in Wimbledon. “One day, and I remember this vividly, a teacher wrote my name in braille and said to me: ‘This is your name.’ I picked it up and I took it home, and I said to my parents: ‘I’m not going back. Even if the Queen wants me out I’m not going back. I am staying here to study.’ That’s really when my life started.”

Soon after, Hassan was twiddling about with the radio on his Walkman and tuned in to Test Match Special. He became addicted to it. “Instead of playing with the kids at lunchtime, I would sit there listening to this strange game that I used to know.” TMS helped him learn English. “But I never attempted to pick up a bat because I knew I couldn’t do it. I’m blind and cricket’s not for blind people.” It was an Australian teacher who taught him otherwise. “He started playing cricket with us during lunch breaks and after school, and I just thought: ‘This is amazing.’ It was just with friends, nothing competitive.” The boys were told about a nearby club, Metro, who played blind cricket. Four of them went along for a session. Hassan, too used to being patronised, expected more of the same. “I thought: ‘I’ll turn up, and it’ll be like school. A bunch of blind boys hitting a ball around and hip hip hooray.’”

What Hassan found, instead, was a new world. “I was 17. These guys at the club were 40, 50, 60. I was the youngest by 10 years and I was overawed, hearing their conversations. They had wives, jobs and lives, and I thought: ‘This is amazing.’” Until then Hassan had never left home on his own. “One of the cricketers came to pick me up that first week and I said: ‘Whatever happens, next week I am going to do this on my own. Whatever happens.’ And that’s really how I started to travel on my own.” His family were not comfortable with it. “I think I know why. They were overprotective. It was a scary thought for them. I hadn’t ever even gone out on my own.” He took two catches in his first game. This, he thought, “is crazy”. A year later he was invited to train with England.

Hassan says he owes everything he has now – his England career, his education at Birmingham City University, his job with the trust – to Metro. “It is thanks to cricket that I am in this position. It was only because I saw people who were able to live on their own, who were able to hold down good jobs, that I felt able to do it myself. I was emulating them.” England hasn’t been easy. He quit after his first training sessions, couldn’t stand being away from home. He came back in 2006, however, when his friend and mentor Heindrich Swanepoel took over the national captaincy. Hassan made his England debut that year, in a match against Sri Lanka in Colombo. In 2006 he played in the World Cup in Pakistan. England’s second match was against the hosts, in Islamabad. “I fielded really well in that game and I remember one of the Pakistanis said in Urdu: ‘Don’t worry, keep hitting him hard as you like, they’ve got good hospitals out in England.’ That’s when I realised I was coming into my own.”

Back then the England and Wales Cricket Board was not involved in blind cricket. The players had to scratch together the money to play. “I spent the last four or five weeks going around my college collecting sponsorship, buying my own prizes to give out in raffles. Other lads who were in London were standing outside tube stations with guide dogs, shaking buckets. That was the reality of it. If we didn’t raise enough there would be a danger we wouldn’t travel.”

They had poor kit and too little of it. Selection was ad hoc, practice infrequent, coaching nonexistent. Hassan dropped out in order to concentrate on studying for his degree. When he came back to play for England again, things were different. The ECB had taken on some of the responsibility for organising the setup. There are 22 teams in the domestic competition and more than 400 players. Then there are the six regional development centres. A pyramid is in place, with the England team at the top.

Now England have a nutritionist, a psychologist, a strength and conditioning coach. For the first time in his life, Hassan is doing one-on-one work with a qualified cricket coach. Last year they played India at the Oval. “It’s just amazing that they are investing money in me and the other players.” It’s worth remembering, the next time you read, hear, or make a complaint about having to pay to watch the game on Sky, that this is where some of the money goes. “We’ve improved so much since the ECB have come in because we have had more coaches, more backroom staff, better venues to train in. I’m a big cricket fan and I would love to see more cricket on terrestrial TV but, actually, if this is what comes out of it, then I’d rather cricket remain on Sky.” It is not only the visually impaired team. The physical disability team have just been to Bangladesh and the learning disability team to Australia. The deaf team are about to go to Dubai.

Hassan hopes that one day the blind cricketers will be paid to play. “Not now. I’m not saying I should be paid to go to Australia but in 40 years I want to sit back and know that someone else is.” This isn’t so very far-fetched. Pakistan’s visually impaired team are already professional. “That’s my dream,” he says. He wants other visually impaired children to have even better opportunities than he did. “I don’t think I can thank the sport enough for what it has done for me.”

If you’d like to learn about opportunities to play visually impaired cricket in your area, you can find more information by emailing disabilitycricket@ecb.co.uk, or by visiting www.bcew.co.uk. Updates on how Hassan and the team get on in Australia will be up on www.ecb.co.uk.

This is an extract taken from the Spin, the Guardian’s weekly cricket email.

original article by    link: www.theguardian.com