Steffan is ready to take on India

CBC Old Boy, Steffan Nero, says despite being "quite nervous", he's "extremely excited" to be representing Australia in a sport he loves.Steffan Nero and Brad Brider, the two Western Australians in Australia's squad for the Blind Cricket World Cup. Photo: Keane Bourke

With his WACE exams only weeks behind him, 17 year old Steffan is just days away from representing Australia in the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in India, which runs from January 30 to February 14.

Steffan has congenital nystagmus,  a condition which causes involuntary, rhythmic eye movements. After an initial reluctance to try the sport, and gruelling training camps in the lead up to selection for the Tour, Steffan says it was all worth it when he got the call up.

"I remember waking up one morning and checking my phone, and seeing I'd received a call from an unknown number at 4 a.m. I called the number and immediately recognised the voice of Peter Robinson, one of the selectors."

"After Peter told me the fantastic news, I couldn't speak at first, all I could say was thank you, thank you. I remember hanging up and grinning from ear to ear, unable to contain my excitement."

Despite only playing the sport for three years, Steffan feels he's more than ready to take on the challenges come with playing in the World Cup.

"I'm still young and inexperienced compared to my teammates, but I'm confident in how my skills have developed and matured over the past year."

"I'm still a little nervous though, since I haven't seen any of the other teams play before."

Steffan's journey hasn't been without disappointment though, with the young gun missing out on representing Australia in the Blind Cricket Ashes in 2016.

"To work so hard for something you're so passionate about, and then to just miss out was soul shattering for me. Nevertheless, I dusted myself off and started training almost four times a week in the lead up to India."

As fantastic as representing his country is, Steffan still says the sport is about more than smashing sixes and taking wickets.

"I've met so many new people through blind cricket, people who have become close friends, friends I can always rely upon for support and advice"

And while the World Cup trip is an incredible achievement, Steffan says he's definitely got more in him.

"I definitely want to keep playing cricket into the future. I've thoroughly enjoyed playing the sport, and enjoying all the opportunities it's given me. My cricket career's only just begun, but I can see a very bright future for myself in the sport."

Blind cricket is played in a similar way to traditional cricket, with a few key differences. Although the ball is a similar size and weight to traditional balls, it rattles as it travels. Bowling is also underarm, and totally blind players are assisted in their contributions to the match by their teammates.

Each side is comprised of four B1 players, who are totally blind, three poorly sighter players, categorised as B2, and four B3 players, who are partially sighted. Each category also has a 12th man.

The current form of blind cricket which is now played worldwide, was first developed in Australia in 1922.