Daily Archives: January 28, 2018

Bargarh looks forward to World Cup for blind hero’s homecoming

On Monday, when Pankaj Bhues will reach Bhubaneswar, the son of a tractor driver will have done something that very few in Bargarh thought he could do – win a World Cup. Pankaj, who is entirely blind in his left eye and has only partial vision in his right, spearheaded the Indian blind cricket team to victory against Bangladesh at UAE, helping India clinch the Cricket World Cup 2018 for Blind last week.

“It is a dream for a player to become the part of a World Cup winning team. Though I started my international cricket career in 2011, this was my first ODI cricket world cup,” said the 23-year-old fielder and bowler.

The tribal youth is the son of Shibulal Bhue of Phulapali village in Bargarh – the second among four children. With a small income, it was difficult for Shibulal to provide an education to all four of his children.

Pankaj started playing cricket when he was studying at the Physically Handicapped School, Bargarh. The cricketer credits Abhay Pradhan, now headmaster of the school, for shaping his talent. Pradhan would be his first coach, the man who would set him on the path to being selected for the 2006 state team.

Picked for the Indian team in 2011, Pankaj played his debut International match against Pakistan in Lahore. Soon after, he was selected for the T20 World Cup in 2012. He took three wickets in the final against Pakistan and helped India win the T20 world cup. “But after the match, I was diagnosed with knee injury and could not run for a year. I thought my career had come to an end,” he said.

Pankaj said his brother, now a policeman, had then asked him to choose athletics to win over his fears. “Though I was scared of running due to injury, I started practising running, long jump and high jump during the end of 2015. It surprisingly gave me physical strength and I took part in national meets held in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. I got 11 medals, including five gold medals in sprint, long jump and high jump,” he said.

Pankaj, incredibly, holds a 6.2 metre record in long jump.