BHUBANESWAR: With auspicious Diyas and Arathis, the New Zealand and Indian teams were given a grand welcome at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here today.
They were welcomed by the officials from Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), Cricket Association for the Visually Impaired Odisha (CAVI Odisha), and the Brand Ambassador for Cricket for the Blind in Odisha, famous Odia Actor Sabyasachi Mishra.
Indian team have won 6 out of 7 matches they have played and rank 2 whereas the New Zealand team are yet to open the account on the Leader board. After arriving in Bhubaneswar, the teams were driven to KIIT University in a procession through the city where the dignitaries and the team captains addressed the media.
Being delighted on playing Host to the Match in their University, Honorary Founding Director, KIIT University,AchyutaSamanta said, “We have organized many tournaments including Ranji Trophy and other BCCI tournaments. But this is a new experience for us as many times sighted cricketers also miss an easy ball. But these cricketers are able to score more than 320 by just listening to the ball. I am extremely proud and humbled at the same time to host this match. We wholeheartedly support the initiative of Cricket for the Blind.”
Welcoming the teams to Odisha, Vishal K Dev, Commissioner and Secretary to Government, Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha said, “We are absolutely privileged to be hosting two wonderful teams in Odisha for the League Match of the 2nd T20 World Cup Cricket for the Blind. We have always believed in an Inclusive society and equal opportunities for all which drives us to support special causes and help meet their needs. On behalf of the Sports and Youth Services Department of the Govt. of Odisha, I wish both the teams good luck ahead of their match tomorrow”
Receiving the Indian Cricket Team and the New Zealand Blind Caps on behalf of CABI, MJ Srikant, Strategist on board of CABI and member of the World Cup Organizing Committee, expressed, “I am delighted that we are receiving the Visiting Team and the Indian Cricket Team in the Traditional Odia way ahead of their match tomorrow at Bhubaneshwar. Looking forward to see the buzzing city of Bhubaneshwar come alive in support of the Match. There is so much about life one can learn and get inspired from seeing these players play the sport. I once again thank the Govt of Odisha for making this possible with their invaluable support.”
Speaking after a traditional reception for both teams at Bhubaneshwar, Sabyasachi Mishra, Cine Actor, Activist and the Brand Ambassador of Cricket for the Visually Impaired in Odisha, said, “A Warm welcome to the New Zealand Blind Caps and the Indian Cricket Team to Odisha, It feels great playing host to both the sides here at Bhubaneshwar, I wish the teams all the very best for their Match Tomorrow. I once again appeal to the people of Bhubaneshwar to come and watch the match in huge numbers, there cannot be a greater way to support the cause of Cricket for the Visually Impaired. I am personally going to be at the venue grounds for the entire match”
Expressing gratitude to the Sponsors, Secretary, Cricket Association for the Visually Impaired Odisha (CAVI Odisha), Sannyas Kumar Behara said “I’d like to thank the Government of Odisha, IOCL, Tata Steel, SBI and all other Sponsors who have contributed to the success of organizing the World Cup Tournament in Odisha. A special thanks to CABI for giving us the opportunity to host the match, MJSPR for extending their PR and Branding Support in a very professional manner for the whole tournament, and to Special Olympics Bharat Odisha for their all-round support. My best wishes goes out to both the teams.”
“CAVI Odisha is putting in their best efforts to promote the game throughout the state. They need all the possible support from the Governments as well as corporates. We have no dearth of talent in the state. They should also get opportunities on the level equal to the sighted cricketers.” Added Prakash K Rath, Area Director, Special Olympics Bharat Odisha
President of CABI and Founder Managing Trustee of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled Mahantesh G K expressed “I’m very happy that match is happening in Bhubaneshwar and the support we have garnered there is very encouraging, especially Odisha Government, KIIT University and all the other companies who have come forward.I appreciate all the excellent efforts put into the successful organizing of the Match and request everyone to join hands and support this noble cause with your presence at the match venue”.