A budding cricketer has defied the odds after mastering the sport – despite having no arms.
Amir Hussain Lone lost both his arms in a tragic accident aged just 8, at his father’s sawmill.
Ironically, dad Bashir made cricket bats at the mill and had to sell the business to pay for his son’s treatment. But the injuries weren’t enough to stop Amir’s love of the game.
Now aged 26 and captain of the state para-cricket team, Amir is able to bat, bowl and even catch out opponents using his feet.
His unusual technique for batting involves holding the bat between his neck and shoulder, and he bowls with his toes – using a sweeping leg movement to launch the cricket ball.
‘Cricket is my passion and in the beginning, it was very difficult for me,’ says Amir, who lives in Indian-administered Kashmir.
‘When I was younger, I wasn’t even able to eat without my hands. When I tried to play cricket for the first time after the accident, people used to make fun of me. Now they are very supportive.’
Recounting the accident, which happened in 1997, Amir says: ‘I was taking some food to my brother who worked there.
‘I used to play with the sawmill machine, but on this occasion both of my arms got entangled in the machine.’
Suffering extensive injuries, Amir was taken to hospital, where he remained for three years.
The accident had a devastating effect on the family, who sold everything to pay the medical expenses.
Amir’s father, Bashir, says, ‘I had my own sawmill and we used to manufacture our own cricket bats. But after the accident, I had to sell everything.
‘People used to talk bad about my son. They used to say I was wasting both my money and time on him, that he was of no use.
‘But he is so dear to me, like a part of my body. As a father, why do I need wealth when my son is not well?’
Eventually returning home, Amir joined the local school, but encountered a number of challenges.
‘My grandmother encouraged me to go to school, I wasn’t ready but she convinced me,’ he recalls.
‘A teacher even told me that this school was not meant for children like me.’
But his passion for cricket remained and he found pleasure playing with his friends and spent two years learning the sport.
‘Batting was not a difficult task,’ says Amir. ‘But bowling without arms was a miracle and I somehow managed to do it.’
Now Amir is hoping to take his skills to the highest level.
‘I am a supporter of Sachin Tendulkar. He is my inspiration and I want to play like him. My dream is to play for the national team.’