Andhra Pradesh/Bhubaneswar, 04/12/2017 ( Odisha Samachar / Abhisek Mohanty )- : Pravat Baral from Beruhan Sasan village in Nimapada block has become the only player with intellectual disability from India to play in all the 3 editions and all the matches that India has played in the Special Olympics South Asia Unified T20 Cricket Tournament.
Pravat has also made the distinction of being the India Captain in the latest version and having contributed with the bat and ball to let the India team win the Silver Medal beating Sri Lanka.
The tournament was held at the Rural Development Trust Cricket Stadium at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh from December 1 to 4, 2017. India had lost the first game to Bangladesh owing to poor opening batting and hence was under pressure to beat Sri Lanka to qualify as the Runners
Up. On 3rd December morning the overcast and chilly environment and the grassy pitch were conducive for the Sri Lankan bowling attack who promptly sent in India to bat after winning the toss. But Pravat had other plans and in the company of Pullayappa Raju, the local player, he gave the impetus to the innings that India was looking for. The duo put on 54 runs in 4 overs plundering runs at will. Pravat contributed a classy 12 from 6 balls with 2 boundaries and remained not out. Raju contributed 42 runs with 6 fours and 2 sixes off only 18 balls but was out once. The solid foundation of the openers was well exploited by the other batsmen putting on a total of 199 for 3 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. As per the Special Olympics Cricket Rules a batting pair has to face a mandatory 4 overs and then let another pair play the next 4 overs and so on. The last batsman plays 2 overs. The total is divided by the wickets lost and the team score is worked out. The opposition plays in the similar manner and its total score is also deduced in the similar manner and the team having the better average run is declared the winner.
Set a target of 200 runs, Sri Lanka kept on losing wickets at regular interval and could muster only 103 runs for the loss of 15 wickets. Thus, it lost to India by 59.47 runs. Pravat Baral picked up 2 crucial wickets with his accurate medium fast bowling. He was declared the Man of the Match. It was a great day for Odisha as Sashikant Sethy of Raid Bazar in Nimapada block was selected as the wicket keeper of India and did a very good job of it. The others viz. Purna Chandra Jena of Kanarpur in Nimapada and David Sahoo of Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district played the first game against Bangladesh. Bibekananda Mohanty of Athagarh was one of the coaches of India while Prakash Rath of Bhubaneswar was the Head of the Delegation of India. All in all, it was a glorious moment for Odisha sports especially in Special
The team members were awarded with Silver Medals by the Chief Guest Mancho Ferrer, Program Director of Rural Development Trust and the Guest of Honour Madhuri Lamba, Chief Executive Officer of Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust and John Nagarajan, Senior. Manager, Sports, Special Olympics Asia Pacific along with Victor Vaz, National Sports Director, Special Olympics Bharat and Mukta Narayan Thind, National Director – OD, Special Olympics Bharat.
The technical team of Rural Development Trust recognised by the International Cricket Council conducted the games under the supervision of the Games Organising Committee.