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23 year old Deepak Malik was born in a village in Sonepat in Haryana in 1995. His parents, Mrs Sudeshand Mr Hava Singh have two more children, both girls. Deepak had normal eyesight and studied in a normal school in the inial years of his life ll that fateful day in Diwali 2004 when a rocket that was set off pierced through his right eye and made it completely blind. The le eye too was affected to an extent and his vision in this eye is relavely weak. He was 9 years old at that me. Aer recouping from this injury he connued his studies in a normal school ll the sixth class. He shied to thDelhi in 2008 and was admied to The Instute for the Blind. He is now in the 12 Class.

It was in Delhi that Cricket beckoned him. He watched many cricket matches and watched with boyish wonder the praises that cricket stars like Sachin, Dravid and others got from the public and in the media. These were the idols of Indian Cricket and young Deepak was awe-struck. They had achieved all this glory and fame through playing for the country and performing so well. Deepak felt that he too should do something for the country in Cricket. He oen dreamt of being in the team for India and winning the World Cup, a dream that got fulfilled in the coming years, albeit in the World Cup for the Blind. It was in Delhi that he learnt about Cricket for the Blind from his sports coach. He had seen matches being played among blind cricketers and asked why the balls were bowled underarm.

The coach explained this, and thus started Deepak’s foray into understanding and playing cricket for the blind. The coach explained all the rules in this form of cricket and how it is played, but discouraged him and told him to focus on his studies. But Deepak was not one to be deterred. Many of his well-wishers told him to take up some other popular sports, like Kabbadi and Athlecs, but Deepak did not buckle under this pressure. He persisted in his quest. Many people supported his decision and encouraged him. A star was in the making.

Around this me there was an inter-school tournament in which young Deepak played very well and was adjudged Best Batsman. He was noced by the right persons and started playing in larger tournaments. NP Singh, who was MS Dhoni’s coach, was also there and recognised his talent and potenal. He took on the young lad under his umbrella and Deepak has since been coached by NP Singh.

Did he meet Dhoni any me? Yes, says Deepak and added that he even pracced with him in the nets. In conversaons with Dhoni, Deepak talked about the problems that blind cricketers face – lack of grounds , lack of facilies, lack of proper kits. Of course Samarthanam and CABI are doing a lot to support them , but that is not enough. State Governments and Centre have to provide them the right infrastructure conducive to playing good cricket. BCCI can also help – this too is cricket! As of now help comes through Samarthanam and CABI. And of course the strenuous effort of managers like David and Shaji in coaching and encouraging them.

Deepak has been categorised as B3. He is recognised as the Fastest Bowler in Blind Cricket in the World, with a speed of 140 Kms per hour. His bang posion is not fixed. He is a hier and steps in whenever it is required to step up the run rate. He holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in just 17 balls in the ODI semi final against Sri Lanka in 204. In a zonal match he once took 8 wickets for 3 runs, his career best. He has won gold medals in 100 and 200 meters athlecs. What is his best 100 mtrssprint ming? 11.3 seconds, he says. A record in his category.

What does he plan for his future? Connue in Cricket in some way or other. Maybe cricket administraon? But whatever happens he will not leave cricket. Jab takmairahoonga tab takmai Cricket se jodarahoonga. Till I am alive I will be associated with Cricket.

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