Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy is an Indian blind cricketer, motivational speaker, and government bank employee. He has played in several tournaments and also captained the Indian blind cricket team to win many Blind Cricket World Cups and Blind T20 World Cups. He became popular after he became a recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2023.
Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy was born on Sunday, 3 June 1990 (age 33 years; as of 2024) in Macherla, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. His zodiac sign is Gemini. When he was four years old, he met with an accident when a latch of the door went inside his left eye. He underwent surgery; however, he lost all vision in his left eye and also had vision loss in his right eye later as the infection spread. When he turned twelve, he started having problems with reading after which his parents got him admitted to Lutheran High School for the Blind, Narasaraopeta in 2002 on the advice of his teachers. He first came to know about blind cricket when he was studying at the blind school. Although he wanted to become a soldier, he gave up his dream of serving in the Indian Army due to his disability, he later heard that Pakistan defeated India in the blind World Cup which enraged him, and he decided to become a cricketer to avenge India’s loss and later went on to become a professional cricketer. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in sports and exercise at Aliya Government Junior College, Hyderabad affiliated with Osmania University from 2008 to 2011. LinkedIn – Ajay Kumar Reddy He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Telugu literature from Nizam College, Hyderabad. The Hindu
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Weight (approx.): 70 kg
Hair Colour: Black
He belongs to a Telugu family.
Parents & Siblings
His parents were farmers. There is not much information about siblings.
Wife & Children
He is married and has a daughter and a son.
He was encouraged to pursue a career in cricket by his friend, G Nageshwar Rao. Rao took Ajay Reddy to Hyderabad in 2006 where Ajay was selected for the Blind Andhra Pradesh state team.
Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy was selected for the Indian blind ODI cricket team for the first time in 2010 and made his debut in the series against England. He made his T20 debut in 2012 and became the vice-captain of the team during the 2012 Blind T20 World Cup and helped the captain Shekhar Naik to win the tournament by defeating Pakistan in the final.
He later helped the Indian team to win the 2014 Blind Cricket World Cup. He became the captain of the Indian team in 2016 and led them to win the inaugural edition of the Blind T20 Asia Cup in 2016. He was the highest wicket-taker in the 2017 Blind T20 World Cup with 9 wickets which India won.
He later captained the team to become the winner of the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup (40 over). Under his captaincy, India completed the hattrick of T20 World Cup wins by winning the 2022 Blind T20 World Cup.
In the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games 2023 held at Edgbaston, Birmingham, he led the team to win the silver medal in the men’s T20 event. He has won more than 80 Man of the Match Awards and more than 50 Man of the Series Awards. On 9 January 2024, he was awarded the Arjuna Award by then-Indian President Droupadi Murmu.
Government Bank Employee
After completing his graduation, Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy became a clerk at the State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) which merged with the State Bank of India (SBI) in 2017. In May 2020, he was promoted to the post of Deputy Manager. Facebook – Ajay Kumar Reddy Illuri
- Jury Special Recognition Award in Men’s Sports category at Sakshi Excellence Awards 2017
- Honoured by All India Civil Services Championships, Government of Andhra Pradesh in 2018
- Best Cricketer of the Year in the B2 category for 2018-19 by Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI)
- Arjuna Award for 2023
Ajay has got a heartbeat tattoo with cricket inked on his forearm.
In an interview in 2023, he revealed that he earns Rs 3000 per match when he plays for India.
- His batting style is right-handed, and his bowling style is right-arm fast. He mostly plays as a top-order batsman and wicketkeeper. His favourite shot is the sweep shot.
- As of January 2024, Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy belongs to the B2 (clear vision till 6 meters) category; however, he disclosed in an interview that he was slowly losing vision in his right eye as well, and if he was unable to find a good doctor, he might have to switch to B1 (almost blind) category.
- He said in an interview that blind (visually impaired) cricketers play for India and have won several World Cups; however, people treat them with sympathy instead of giving them any recognition. He also said that blind cricketers should also be given proper financial support.
- When Ajay was a child, his parents set up an idli-dosa stall to make ends meet when Ajay was in a hostel. He thought that his parents were abandoning him, and came back to his home to help his parents. He used to clean dishes and serve tea and dosa to customers. He had problems occasionally due to his lack of proper vision and was abused by a few customers during that time.
- He is a member of an NGO for disabled people named Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled which provided financial support to him during his growing years.
- Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy often gives motivational talks at various schools and colleges and tries to inspire disabled people to aim for something big in their lives.
- He credited his parents as his support system. Ajay said that his father also had a vision problem and did not earn much; however, he always completed his every need and provided him with cricket equipment.
- When he went to give trials for the state team in Hyderabad in 2006, he lied to his parents that he was going to study at his friend’s home as he feared that his parents might not allow him. He also thanked his college principal in an interview as the principal gave attendance to Ajay when he was busy playing cricket tournaments.