Defying disability, Sandra strikes it rich on cricket field

Sandra Davis
Sandra is a second-year BEd student of NSS Training College at Ottapalam. Photo: Manorama/Vishnu V Nair

Thrissur: As a kid, Sandra Davis used to put her nose to the television screen to watch Sachin Tendulkar play. Sandra, who has only 20 per cent vision, had no other option to see the Master Blaster bat. She did not let her disability deter her from loving her favourite game as she enjoyed the blurred figures and shadows moving in front of her eyes. 

Today, the 23-year-old Thrissur native is the only Keralite in the Indian women's blind cricket team. She was part of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the International Blind Sports Association World Games held in Birmingham in September 2023. In the final against Australia, Sandra did her bit by picking up a vital wicket. 

Daughter of Karimalikkal Davis and Shali of Amballur near Thrissur, Sandra was visually impaired at birth. She started playing cricket with a group of boys when she was in Class V at the School for the Blind in Aluva. She quickly learned to track the ball, which is filled with ball bearings, with accuracy and hit it hard. 

Apart from cricket, Sandra also excelled in swimming and athletics and participated in various state and national-level meets. 

She started taking cricket seriously while doing her Plus Two at the CJMA Higher Secondary School at Amballur. The turning point in her life came when she got selected to the state blind cricket team following a trial organised by Rajanish Henry, vice-president of the World Blind Cricket Council and chairman of the Cricket Association for the Blind in Kerala. 

Sandra played her first national-level tournament in 2020. In 2022, she captained the Kerala side which won the national cricket tournament for the blind. Subsequently, she was called up to the national team. Sandra, the only player from Kerala in the 17-member current Indian squad, made her international debut in a bilateral T20 Series against Nepal in 2023.   

According to Sandra, the most memorable moment of her cricketing journey is her meeting with Indian women's cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who is also the brand ambassador for the women's blind cricket. 

A second-year BEd student of NSS Training College at Ottapalam, Sandra did not allow the disability to dampen her spirits. Challenging the stigma and stereotypes that surround persons with disabilities, she showed the world that people with disabilities not only are capable of doing great work, but also possess unique talents.

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