Antony Perry May 19, 2012
Australian blind cricketers Cameron Roles and Nick Haydar are ready for England. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Two Canberra cricketers fly out for England today in a bid to help Australia win back the Ashes. The twist is Cameron Roles and Nick Haydar are blind.
Roles jokes the Australian team has often tried to coax Trevor Chappell to be their coach, given underarm bowling is mandatory in blind cricket.
But the pair are dead serious about their mission in England - exacting revenge after surrendering the Ashes in 2008.
''That's all we want,'' Roles said.
Haydar added, ''My one and only goal is to win it, there is so much desire and want and I'm not really focused on anything but trying to bury the English.''
Roles, 36, has been totally blind since birth and began playing blind cricket as a teenager.
Haydar, 42, has about 10 per cent vision. He grew up playing cricket, but lost most of his sight when his optic nerves were damaged by Leber optic atrophy.
''It's hard to adjust because when you lose that sight everything goes haywire,'' Haydar said. ''Cricket was my outlet in the backyard and it does take a while to master.''
Blind cricket uses a ball with a bell, the batsmen having to shout the bowler's name three times before each delivery to help with their aim.
Mainstays of the national team, Roles and Haydar are also aiming to put Australia on the front foot ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in India later this year.
Going on international tours is a financial burden for each player, but they have received assistance from the Brian Holden Vision Institute and Lord's Taverners.