England Blind Cricketer Darren Paddick reflects on the scond half of the tour in India.
Our last match in Bangalore ended in defeat against India. I was twelfth-man for the game which is a strange feeling. You are willing and cheering your teammates on but you aren’t able to make an impact on the game.
After our regular cool down, dinner and short rest we left the hotel at 3am for the airport to fly to Goa. It’s fair to say Bangalore at the early morning is nearly as frenetic as it is throughout the day.
A short internal flight later we found ourselves in Goa. My first thought upon disembarking the plane was “it’s a bit hotter here!”
The hustle and bustle of Bangalore was behind us, to be exchanged with a different type of atmosphere. Gone were the pavements, which were replaced with narrow mud paths. The traffic was still there, but the constant horns were replaced by the loud beats of the local bars. From a VI perspective this was a far more relaxed place, but still pretty overwhelming.
As I’ve mentioned before, getting around involved an incredible amount of teamworking from the players and staff. Be it safely navigating rubble on the path, or jumping over a big ditch to reach the main streets, it all makes for the perfect experience. It also made me think how lucky we are back in England.
With regards to the cricket, we played against both India and Sri Lanka in the Tri-Series. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get that elusive victory but what we learnt from these matches was invaluable. Each game it felt like we were getting closer and closer to our opponents. Playing in heat which at times, due to the humidity, made it feel like 40 degrees, was incredibly sapping. But what better way to develop and learn your game than in the harshest conditions against two of the best teams in World Blind Cricket?
In summary, I’ve had the most incredible experience, something I won’t forget in a long time. It’s left me hungry for more. I hope it’s just the start of something special, and from first impressions I can’t see why not.