It was a dream come true for Sukhram Majhi, a Class X student of the School for the Blind in Orissa's Koraput, who has made it to the national cricket team for the blind.
"It was a dream comes true for me. I express my gratitude to my coach for his guidance," said an elated Sukhram, a 16-year-old boy of Sukriguda village under Umri panchayat in the district.
"I also thank my mother for encouraging me to join school for which I am in the national team today," he added.
Deserted by her husband, his mother is also a blind woman who ekes out a living by working as daily labourer.
Sukhram, who is an all-rounder, will be travelling with the national team to Pakistan to play at least five T20 ties and as many ODIs next month before taking part in the World Cup, consisting seven countries, in England in February 2012.
Sukhram, a 40 per cent blind child, was included in the cricket team for his brilliant performance at the national tournament held at Mysore by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India during the last week of September.
Representing East Zone, he scored 86 not out, 53 and 29 not out against South Zone, West Zone and North Zone respectively at the national tournaments.
"Sukhram is a right-handed batsman and bowls well. He also took at least three wickets at the national tournament," said his coach Chandra Sekhar Patnaik who is also the coach of the national team.
Patnaik said though Sukhram joined the school in 2000, he started showing interest in cricket in 2005 and became serious when another student represented India in 2006.
However, the coach lamented the lack of patronage for the sport in the district. "Neither we have a good play ground nor have we the required cricket kit for the players. My students play cricket against all odds. As cricket for blind is new for the region, we need more support," he said.
Collector Koraput Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav said, "All assistance will be provided by the administration to the school to create more Sukhrams in future."
Earlier, two other blind students from the state had joined the national cricket team - Pankaj Bhue of Bargarh and M J Iqbal of Bhubaneswar.