Sunday, June 07, 2015

Special Report: This 'Blind Cricketer' Who Won The 'World Cup' For India Cannot Find A Job Yet, Despite Promises?

It's hard to imagine a successful sportsman facing obstacles when it comes to employment: And yet, Ketan Patel, who was awarded Man-Of-The-Series in the ODI and T20 cricket series in England (held recently) has returned to his home town flushed with success, but without any job prospects in sight.

Visually-challenged Patel, who returned to Mumbai yesterday, revealed that his team's success did not alleviate his worries about finding a job in his home country in an interview with a vernacular daily. "“I was part of the World Cup team and now these two memorable series, but will these performances count for something? Despite several pleas to the Gujarat government, I have not been able to get a much-needed job,” he said.

Falling into the fully blind B-1 category, the 29-year-old all-rounder scored 64 runs in the first ODI against England, and went on to score 42 runs off 32 balls in the next fixture that won the three-match series for India. Patel who took two wickets in the India vs Pakistan World Cup final last year at Cape Town, rendered his best performance on 31 May, when he ran up a score of 102 runs off 46 balls in the Twenty-20 battle in London. This won him the Man Of The Series Award in the ODI and T20 series.

Patel travels twice a week to Valsad - 25 kilometres away from his village Phaladra - to undergo training with his blind colleagues, and practices alone on most days in his village, according to the report. In desperation to feed his family (he has a wife and two daughters as well as a blind father) Patel has started rice farming on three acres of land that earns him Rs 25,000 in the four months of monsoon (from June to September). He also earns Rs 6,000 per month by selling milk, however has to pay Rs 12,000 for investment.

"I don’t have any hopes for a job now, simply because I have been trying for so many years. I was hopeful of one after our World Cup triumph five months ago, but no one helped me,” says Patel, who debuted in the sport in 2004 at the National Blind Championship in Chennai.

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