Tale of a Bangladesh cricket crusader on wheelchair

UNB . Dhaka | Update:

Cricketer Mohammad Mohasin. Photo: UNBMohammad Mohasin, born in Tongi, never knew how to quit. Despite losing the ability to walk after extracting polio in childhood, Mohasin did not let it foil his passion for the game he loves- cricket.

“I have been working with the disabled cricketers since 2010. Even before that, I played cricket without the support of a wheelchair,” he said.

Mohasin founded Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association Bangladesh (WCWAB) in 2010, and captained the cricket team formed under it.

“The challenge was never easy. I contacted the organisations that work with physically-challenged community while working in my mobile shop back then and came to know that there weren’t any,” said Mohasin.

He was forced to sell the shop in March 2014 to fund his training and other expenses for cricket.

As part of Bangladesh Physically-challenged Cricket Team, Mohasin played in the Tajmahal Trophy, a 5-match T-20 tournament in June 2014. After winning the series the team gained attention and received accolades from prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mohasin said, although being a team of physically-challenged cricketers, those who were on wheelchairs were sidelined with the excuse of being ‘more prone to injury’. This strengthened his determination further to form an all-wheelchair cricket team.

“It (injury) is part of the game. Every player risks injury - even the able-bodied cricketers, why should we step back because of that?” said Mohasin.

He, however, did not refrain from pursuing his dream and eventually laid the foundation of the country’s first wheelchair cricket team.

“After this setback, I started contacting physically-challenged people countrywide who could not move without wheelchairs and finally was able to bring together 32 wheelchair cricketers,” he added.

This is where Imago Sports, a sports management company, enters Mohasin’s story. The co-founder, Quazi Sabir leant support to arrange the first National Wheelchair Cricket Tournament in 2016 where 32 players on wheelchairs competed in four teams.

“We started with 32 players and now we have a total of 200 players, men, and women, ready to take part in the game,” said Mohasin with a bright smile.

Under Mohasin’s captaincy, the Bangladesh wheelchair cricket team has won ‘Walton Bangladesh-India Wheelchair Cricket Series’ in 2017 and 'International Bilateral Wheelchair T-20 Cricket Series' in India in 2018. They were also runner-ups in the first two International Wheelchair Cricket T20 Tri-Series, held in Nepal and India.

With Mohasin as captain, the team is scheduled to travel to India on December 16 for competing in International Wheelchair Cricket Championship 2019 slated to take place in Uttarakhand, India.

Currently six organisations -- Orion Group, BRAC, ABC Radio, Imago Sports Management Limited, Nafi Group and BD Crick Time are sponsoring them in the International Wheelchair Cricket Championship 2019.

The team received 21 sports wheelchairs from BCB this month to aid their efforts.

Mohasin in a press conference Thursday expressed his confidence in winning the tournament.

“We are fuelled by your support and self-confidence. We will be representing our country and are focused to bag the trophy,” said Mohasin.

He told UNB that the team is ready to give a tough fight to experienced teams like India and Nepal and hopeful to win against newcomer Afghanistan.

Mohasin spoke about the future plans for wheelchair cricket of the country.

“We want to lay a strong foundation for the wheelchair cricket structure that will bring new players to the pipeline,” he told UNB.

“We will try to focus on organising more divisional leagues to spread enthusiasm and strengthen the structure,” he added.

Additionally, there have been talks of organising a national premier league for the wheelchair cricketers like BPL, Mohasin added.

Mohasin, who is also the general secretary of International Wheelchair Cricket Association, told UNB that the organisation is planning to kick off a world championship for the wheelchair cricketers in 2020.

“Nothing is official yet, but we are working globally to start the tournament,” he said.

Having married in 2009, Mohasin is a father to two daughters and wants to work for a women’s team of wheelchair cricketers.

Representing the physically-challenged of the country is not an easy task, said Mohasin. He expressed hope that the public will join their cause to hoist the spirit of the differently-abled.

Mohammad Mohasin on behalf of WCWAB received the Young Bangla Award 2017.

 
   
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