Jason Stubbs is a man with a plan when it comes to growing awareness and participation of blind and vision impaired cricket throughout the state.

Whilst entering his fifth season as head coach of the NSW Blind Cricket team, Jason didn’t know blind cricket was a thing until his son, Oscar, was advised by doctors to stop playing regular cricket due to his deteriorating eyesight.

“We knew that Oscar had a vision impairment from an early age, but it didn’t impact upon his ability to play junior cricket and even up until the age of 16, where I was his coach for a number of years,” explained Jason.

“Following an eye test at 16, that’s when he was diagnosed as being legally blind and was told he needed to stop playing certain sports.

“He loved playing cricket and I thought there must be something for him, so I contacted Cricket NSW who told me about blind cricket.”

Now 21, Oscar has developed into one of the world’s leading blind cricketers and was part of the NSW team that claimed the state’s first national title in 20 years back in 2018, the same year that Jason took over the reins as head coach.

“The sheer elation and joy throughout the group at winning the title was something special,” Stubbs said 

“To see just how much they get out of it (cricket) and how much the players love cricket, they love cricket more than most people.”

In addition to coaching the state team, Jason is on a mission to educate, provide opportunities and grow participation in blind cricket.

“Over the past five years, I’ve worked with Cricket NSW and their Big Bash teams to create four teams for blind cricketers,” he said.

“We now have both a junior and senior team under the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder brands who play regularly at Bankstown Oval during the summer.

“There are currently 40 to 50 registered players across the four teams, but we encourage anyone interested to pop along to experience blind cricket, even friends of participants that aren’t blind, as we promote reverse inclusion as well. 

“I want to inspire more people to learn about blind cricket, support their friends and family, and be advocates for the format.”

Looking ahead, Jason has a focused goal of what he hopes to achieve as a leading figure in blind cricket across NSW.

“The aim for the next five years is to grow the number of junior players in both the Sixers and Thunder teams plus introduce two Girls Only sides

“Being able to have state teams for juniors, seniors and women is the aim, and it would be a wonderful achievement,” concluded Stubbs.

How Blind Cricket varies 

    Blind cricket is based on the traditional laws of cricket.

    Each side fields 11 players, four of whom must be totally blind, with three partially blind players and up to four who are partially sighted.

    The ball is the major adaptation. It is plastic, larger than a traditional cricket ball and filled with ball bearings for audible cues.

    The stumps are also larger and painted in florescent colours, allowing partially sighted players to orientate themselves, while blind players touch them while batting and bowling for orientation.

    In the field, players classified as totally blind must also wear blackout glasses, and verbal signals play an important role in fielding, with teammates directing each other to the ball.

    The rules vary depending on who is batting or fielding, with totally blind players permitted to take catches on the bounce.

    Bowlers must also call "play" when releasing the ball, which must be bowled underarm.

CLICK HERE to access further information on equipment plus rules and classifications.

 

Blind Cricket Come & Try Opportunity – December 19

Subject to weather, the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder Blind Cricket teams will next play on Sunday December 19 at Bankstown Oval.

To attend, contact Jason Stubbs during business hours on 0478 177 842 or email blindcricketnsw@gmail.com

CLICK HERE to access the Blind Cricket NSW website.

 

Northern Inland Blind Cricket Initiative  

Following an in-market visit from the NSW Blind Cricket team coached by Jason Stubbs in 2020, Cricket NSW Participation Officer – Northern Inland, Rebecca Gander was able to model how blind cricketers bowl and bat.

Rebecca was able to take these learnings and incorporate them into an All-Abilities Cricket program she was delivering for students from five schools throughout the region, which was made possible through the support of the Woolworths Community Funding.

In addition to coaching techniques, Rebecca also learnt some Key Word Signing to assist students with hearing impairment and processing delay.

To enquire about cricket programs for people with a disability in your area, contact the respective Cricket NSW Area Manager or Cricket Manager HERE.