**Bhubaneswar**: Visually impaired Odia boy Lingaraj Rautara (31) has fetched laurels for the State, as he clenched a spot in the national blind cricket squad for the ‘1st Ever Bilateral Cricket Series For The Blind’ to be held in Sri Lanka, Colombo from July 15-25.
Talking to OMMCOM NEWS, an elated Lingaraj said, “I received the news from Jaffar bhai (Odisha Blind Cricket Team’s captain) today morning. I was extremely happy as I am the only person from the Odisha team to make it to the national squad. My friends and family have also given me lot of love and support on hearing the good news.”
Lingaraj, who hails from a humble background from Khordha’s Balianta block, will be representing India on an international level for the first time. Earlier, Routray had only been part of the State team. He was adjudged ‘Man of the Tournament’ in Sixth East Zone Cricket Tournament for the Blind at Jadavpur, Kolkata in October 2017.
Lingaraj is an all-rounder who bats left-handed, bowls right-hand and also has impeccable fielding skills. He was part of the Odisha team in the National Cricket Tournament For the Blind in the years 2016 and 2017. The team had emerged victorious in the 2016 tournament and had progressed till the semi-finals in the later year.
However, all is not well as Lingaraj expressed disappointment over not having the required facilities to practice his game. “There is no proper ground and thus I cannot train every day. Only when 3-4 other boys get together, we practice in small local fields.”
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