Australian opening batter Steffan Nero has broken the world record for the highest score in a blind cricket international match, making an unbeaten 309 in an ODI against New Zealand in Brisbane.
Nero’s 309 came from 140 balls, and easily surpassed the previous mark of 262 not out, set by Pakistan’s Masood Jan at the 1998 Blind Cricket World Cup.
The Australian opener has now made three consecutive centuries, with his triple century added to scores of 113 (46) and 101 not out (47) in the two T20’s that preceded the first ODI.
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His innings helped Australia to a total of 2/541, a target that was well beyond the reach of New Zealand, with the visitors all out for 272.
“It’s a dream to play for Australia, making a century for Australia is one of those lifelong memories that you’ll never forget,” he said.
“For me, it’s good to reflect and celebrate. My eventual goal is to try and score good runs against the best teams in the world, which is India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They’re the top tier.
“(New Zealand) has some good pace bowlers, they’re quick and the ball was swinging.
“(We were looking) to go at a steady rate and not lose a wicket straight away, that’s been an issue at Australian level.
“For us, it was all about maintaining a good scoring rate.”
Nero has congenital nystagmus, which means his brain doesn’t receive a clear message of what his eyes are seeing.
As he explained after his record-breaking innings, spending so long at the crease takes its toll.
“The mind, the eyes, it’s a big mental strain concentrating. It’s a big mental strain I imagine for a fully sighted person, but with vision impairment we spend more energy to concentrate,” he described.
“Especially when the ball is moving around, with the glare, it’s really hard.
“The body is alright, it’s the mental side. That’s one thing I think people don’t realise, straining your eyes for that period of time can be quite taxing.”
Nero also completed five run-outs to go with his triple century, an innings that contained the first six of the series, which came as a surprise to the left-hander.
“Sometimes there’s an over where I think I’m going to take this guy downtown, hit him out of the park,” he noted.
“It was definitely a shock when it went over the rope for six, I was very happy with that.
“But I was also annoyed because I needed to stop hitting the ball in the air. When you play the best nations in the world they’ll catch you if you hit it in the air.”
In blind cricket each team must have four totally blind players, and a maximum of four partially sighted players.
Nero said it’s good to be back in the national colours, after a four-year absence.
“The last time we wore the green and gold was 2018 at the one-day international World Cup in Dubai,” he remarked.
“Obviously with trying to navigate the pandemic, and obviously everything costs money.
“It’s been a long, long time.”
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