According to Sunil Waghela, being handicapped is not a disability, but an ability to do things differently. Waghela, who was born with a deformed hand, claimed six wickets, including a hat-trick, to help LIC President’s XI register a five-wicket win over South Zone in the All India inter-zonal cricket tournament conducted by the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (AICAPC) at the PJ Hindu Gymkhana yesterday.
The 40-year-old medium-pacer, a father of two, said he never let his disability get in the way of his cricketing dreams. “My disability has given me strength,” said the Zaheer Khan fan.
Confidence is key
Waghela started playing cricket at 15, but his biggest obstacle was his family, not his disability. “My biggest obstacle was my family. They call me a mad man.
But I didn’t care. My confidence was my strength to carry on despite the shortcomings,” he said. Despite the willingness to fight, an individual needs money to pursue his dreams. Disabled cricket is not a lucrative sport and Waghela just hopes that their body — AICAPC — is recognised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) so that they can earn a decent livelihood.
For the time being, he works as a liftman at a civil hospital where he earns Rs 5,000 per month. Even that meagre amount is not guaranteed because he needs to skip his work in order to attend training sessions.
“At least at work, I feel good because I’m treated as a normal human being. It is the dream of thousands of cricketers like me that one day BCCI will recognise us and that inspires us to work even harder,” he said. Waghela still dreams of representing the country. “I want to serve my country the way our other cricketing icons are doing. I’m confident of succeeding because of my continuous hard work and willingness to perform,” he signed off.