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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Cricket

Raffle ticket: vision no bar for the love of cricket
Firoz Mirza, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, December 13, 2012
First Published: 23:01 IST(13/12/2012)
Last Updated: 23:06 IST(13/12/2012)

Despite being born visually challenged, Fred Raffle never let disability come in the way of his favourite sport, cricket. The undying love for the sport motivated Raffle to represent England in blind cricket.

Apart from it, the psychology lecturer, who retired in 1994, has a passion for travelling around the globe to cheer for his country.

Raffle has accompanied the England squad on 25 overseas tours, the latest being India.

But the ongoing tour is proving to be a challenge for him, as this time he has to manage without the Sky commentary team.

"I used to sit in the Sky commentary box. Even in the UAE for the England-Pakistan series, I was in their commentary box. But this time, Sky is not here due to some issues with the BCCI, and this has made me dependent on the radio commentary," said the octogenarian.

The Sunderland-born Raffle is getting help from compatriot Andrew, who is not just doing live commentary for the former, sitting next to him in the stand, but also keeping him updated with the scores.

After 32 years in the teaching profession, Raffle undertook the first tour as an English fan to South Africa in 1995.

"The first Test in Port Elizabeth was my first overseas match," said Raffle, satisfied with England's performance in Nagpur after the initial hiccups.

His long association with the sport has given Raffle memories to cherish, but the cricket aficionado still remembers the moment when he met former India skipper, Kapil Dev, in the commentary box.

"I was enjoying a match when Kapil entered the commentary box to meet Ian Botham. The England all-rounder then introduced Kapil to me. I still cherish the moment," he added.


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