Cricketer Without Arms

  • Naseer Ahmad
  • Publish Date: May 3 2016 11:19AM
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  • Updated Date: May 3 2016 11:20AM
Cricketer Without Arms

 ‘I want to play at the international level. That is my dream’

     While bowling with his foot at a field in the middle of apple orchards to his friend, 25 year old armless cricketer Amir Hussain Lone is no unusual sight for villagers. Amir bats with his neck, bowls with his feet and takes catch with his feet.  And for everyone in the village it is a normal activity. They have seen him doing all this for years now. All they find unusual is newfound media interest in him.
     When he was only seven he met an accident at his father’s sawmill. He was rushed to bone and joint hospital Srinagar. He remained there for two months as both his arms were amputated. Later he grappled with infection. He spent another four months in Tertiary Medical Institute, Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). 
When he was discharged from the hospital, the world for him was not the same again. His father had sold sawmill and had started working as a labourer.
 “I was told I should have better died rather than being alive. Everyone pitied me. They thought I will be of no use. Except grandmother no one had encouraging word for me. She was all supportive,” says Lone after bowling with his foot to his friend 26-year-old Zahoor Ahmad Wani.
     Wani too has story to tell. Since four years of age polio has left his left leg underdeveloped. They have another friend. He is 19-year-old Adil Ahmad Khan. Khan too is a polio victim, who cannot walk properly. Cricket and their picturesque village are two things which bind them together.
     Back in the village after prolonged hospital stay, Amir didn’t lose hope. The family had lost land, however. His family sold around five kanals of land for his treatment.
     Amir started watching cricket and developed interest in the game. “We had no Television. I would watch TV at a neighbor’s house. And I continued my study. My family in spite of being from a labour class helped me monetarily.” 
     “I opted for psychology. I love human behavior. I love to watch faces and see how people behave,” he says.
      He started helping himself at school and later at  the higher secondary. “I do every work of mine myself,” he says.  He takes tea, removes his clothes and writes with his feet. “My feet-writing is far better than handwriting of others,” he says and smiles. “Every disease lies in the mind,” he says just to convey that he knows psychology.
     As the years passed by he devoted himself to cricket and bowled like other boys of the village. His bowls would remain very low. “Consequently one day my village team decided that I should be banned for bowling as my bowls would remain very low and batsman would find it difficult to play,” Amir says and laughs.
     Few years ago he attended a conference on disability in the town hall in south Kashmir. There Amir found many youngsters who were differently-abled but had interest in the cricket. With Wani and Khan on his side they needed another 8 players to make Jammu and Kashmir Cricket team for differently-abled.
     “I did it all alone. I assembled 14 other boys. We went to Delhi. And led my team against Delhi in 2013 and we won. When people there saw me batting with neck, bowling with my feet, and running for other differently-abled, who couldn’t run in my team they took me on their shoulders and shouted slogans Jai Mata Di. It was happiest moment of my life,” Amir says.
     His elder brother Yasir Ahmad Lone says Amir left his education few years ago without completing graduation. “He was on way to college when he lost Rs 3000. It was his college fee. It was stolen by someone when he was travelling in a bus. He didn’t go to college again,” Yasir says.
     In 2015 Amir played in Lucknow city of the UP. “Now I want to play at the international level. That is my dream,” he says.  He doesn’t complain and he has no grudges against anyone. “No one support us. There is no government support. There is no monetary help. But then governments are like that,” he says and laughs again and his friends join him in a hearty laugh.