England Men’s Blind Cricket Team is getting ready for the upcoming International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Blind Games 2023. Photographer Ian Rice recently attended the men’s team’s training session to capture the action as they prepare to compete.
Held at the ECB’s National Performance Centre at Loughborough University, Captain Ed Hossell and the team prepare for the World Blind Games 2023. Splitting into two teams for the day’s practice session, the players prepare for their first game against Australia.
Photographer and disability advocate Ian Rice used the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary on his NIKON Z9 using the NIKON FTZ Adapter to capture the training session. The lens features a Dual Action Zoom allows the focal length to be changed by either rotating the zoom ring for precise control, or push and pulling the front optic for rapid focal length changes when shooting fast paced action. The SIGMA TC-1401 and TC-2001 teleconverters can be purchased separately to increase the focal even further.
The lens is part of the Contemporary line of SIGMA lenses, and has been designed to be as lightweight as possible without compromising on optical performance. Its built-in optical stabilisation reduces camera shake and can be set to a panning mode (Mode 2), ideal for following subject across a cricket field. The lens also features a water and oil-repellent coating on the front optic that prevents water and oil from sticking to the lens surface, making it easy to clean so you don’t miss any action.
Rules of blind cricket are the same as traditional rules with few changes that make it accessible. The ball used for games is a size three football, filled with carbon balls to produce sound when in motion. Players are able to use the sound of the ball to pinpoint its location. Partially sighted players can also use the balls larger size and bright white colour as an aid. The stumps are wider, taller and brightly coloured. There are also extra verbal rules, such as asking the batsman if they ready before every run up and shouting ‘play’ as the ball is released.
Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) is responsible for the daily running of national and international competitions for blind and partially sighted players. They have also been an official affiliate of the England and Wales Cricket Board since 2006, which oversees blind cricket in the UK. They are responsible for looking after both the men’s and woman’s team at this year’s World Blind Games 2023, starting on the 19th August with the Woman’s debut game against Australia.