BATS Sports Club
The contents of this document are OFFICIAL.
Media Release 26 September, 2022
Paul makes perfect pitch for beep cricket
Meet Paul Szep, the Kerry Packer of blind cricket, who is set to change the way the game is played since its creation 100 years ago.
Just like the media mogul who famously invented day-night cricket in the late 1970s, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant Paul is transforming the game after creating a world-first beeping cricket ball.
Paul, legally blind from the age of 3, has spent the past few years developing a beeping cricket ball that is increasing participation among blind and low-vision players.
His community cricket club in south-east Queensland, the Blind Bats Inc, trialled the beeping ball last summer in a charity match and it proved to be a success.
“It’s giving people without sight a whole lot of information they never had before in terms of where the ball is and what it is doing,” Paul, 67, said.
“Before beep cricket, there would be fielders flailing their arms about trying to find the ball.
“Our theme is inclusion in the community. We cater to everyone.
“It’s for people with all levels of sight, aged between 13 to 70 years.”
A microchip inside an oversized cricket ball beeps when in motion, but also when it stops, making fielding easier.
Paul now wants to spread the game nationally, with a beep cricket competition in each capital city.
However, like Packer’s bold plan to change the game in the 1970s, Paul is experiencing his share of doubters too, not that it’s going to stop him.
“A few officials said that they’re not interested,” Paul said.
“Well, the governing body weren’t initially interested in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket idea back in the 70s either.
“He proved them wrong – I plan to do the same.”
Born with full sight, Paul contracted pink disease, or acrodynia, when he was six months old, a condition which caused a skin discoloration.
“The medication to relieve that disease caused my skin to go back to normal, but I ended up with an eyesight problem,” Paul said.
“I had 15 per cent vision in one eye, none in the other.”
He recalled trying different sports at school, including rugby league and cricket, but he had difficulty keeping track of the ball.
“It was like playing brandy – I would be getting tagged all the time.”
A friend would later introduce Paul to blind cricket while living in Sydney and he hasn’t looked back.
The former Australian, New South Wales and Queensland wicketkeeper is now using his NDIS supports to build his capacity.
Paul uses assistive technology as part of his NDIS plan, including a closed-circuit television (CCTV) magnifier to help with reading and writing.
He also receives help with home and garden maintenance, as well as a transport allowance, since joining the NDIS in 2018.
Previously, Paul had to rely on his own funding, as well as support from family and friends to achieve his goals.
An Australia Day medal recipient for services to the blind community, Paul also had a distinguished 21-year career with the Australian Cadet Corps.
That passion for giving back to the community has continued in retirement.
“I learnt from the army to surround yourself with good people, and you’ll do well,” Paul said. “And that’s what I did.
“I reflected on my life, I’ve done well, and I thought, maybe I can give something back now.”
Blind cricket was first played in Melbourne in 1922, when an audible ‘ball’ was made from rocks inside a tin can.
Eventually, bells or bottle tops were inserted to create sound from an oversized wicker ball – provided it was moving.
Now beep cricket is threatening to do for the sport what playing in coloured uniforms under lights did in the late 1970s – change it forever.
The Blind Bats, based at Morayfield, north of Brisbane, hosts come and try beep cricket days every Sunday.
Teams are made up of 3 fully sighted and 8 vision-impaired players, plus a 12th man.
The club also hosts other beep ball sports including softball, soccer, touch football and hockey.
Anyone interested can email Paul at email@example.com, call 0408 474 860 or visit blindbats.org.
N.B. The NDIS is now providing support to more than 534,000 Australians, with more than half receiving supports for the first time.
There are more than 111,000 participants in Queensland benefitting from the NDIS.
NDIA media contact: 0412 793 798 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Above is a photo of people playing football.
The game of Beep Football has now been introduced in our Inclusive Sports Program and soon it will be introduced Australia wide. We are just waiting for the completion of the production of our beeping footballs so, right now we are using a rattle ball.
In addition to a beeping ball, there are a few rule changes to the game:
- The game is played on a half-size field
- Players do not have to wear blindfolds
- Beep Football is an Inclusive Sport where you family, carers and friends can all take part in the game.
Above is a photo of people playing Hockey.
In FY 2022-2023 Blind Bats Inc. will be introducing the inclusive game of Beep Hockey. In Beep Hockey your mates and family members can also join in the fun.
At Blind Bats Inc. Beep Hockey is an inclusive activity.
Above is a photo of cricketers playing Beep Cricket (FY 2021-2022).
Blind Bats Inc. introduced the game of Beep Cricket at a match between the BATs and the Moreton Bay Mayor’s XI held in September 2021. A Beep Cricket competition will commence in July to September 2022.
The project to develop the game of Beep Cricket was funded by the Fedral Government with the member for Longman Hon Terry Young MP strongly supporting the idea.
In the game of Beep Cricket, the teams are made up of a mixture of participants with all levels of sight, including those with full sight. In addition to playing with a beeping ball, the game is also played with a boundary rope and some slight rule changes that level up the playing field when it comes to sight capacity.
At Blind Bats Inc., Beep Cricket is an inclusive activity.
Above is a photo of people playing Beep Softball.
Did you know, that a version of the game of Beep Softball has been played in North America for many years?
So, if you want to give it a try, click here to become a member of BATS Sports Club. Do not forget to select Beep T-Ball on the form. We start you off using a T and then progress to Softball when you feel you are ready.
We have sessions currently being conducted each Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm With a free BBQ being provided at midday.
Soon we will introduce Beep Softball will Australia wide with just a few changes:
- Players do not have to wear blindfolds
- 4 x 160cm tall bases are used. These bases will soon have buzzers attached.
- The game is played on a reduced-size diamond-shaped field.
Beep Softball is an inclusive activity and so family, carers, and friends are also allowed to play along side you if you wish.
Above is a photo of a giant rugby ball to be used in the game of Beep Tag.
BATS Sports Club have recently introducing the game of Beep Tag to Australia. Most of the rules of this game remain the same as the regular game of Tag, except for the use of the giant beeping rugby ball (from HARTS Sports) and a few rule changes. The size of the field is 25m x 50m.
In Beep Tag, your mates and family members can join in the fun with you.
At Blind Bats Inc. Beep Tag is an inclusive activity.