Denning backs Deaf Ashes hopefuls

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Bobby Denning

England head coach Bobby Denning said: “We’ve got a strong side. All 15 players are capable of doing the job on the day"

England Deaf head coach Bobby Denning believes his players are ready for a tilt at winning the Deaf Ashes for the first time.

The tourists face their Australia counterparts in a one-off, three-day Test at Geelong Grammar School, near Melbourne, starting on Tuesday after wet weather put back tomorrow's original start.

The hosts have never lost a Test and hence have held the May/Craven Trophy since it was first contested in the early 1990s.

England, who are captained by Umesh Valjee - one of several players who held Australia to a 0-0 draw at home in 2008 - are well-prepared, according to Denning.

“The boys are faring up really well,” he told “We’ve got a strong side. All 15 players are capable of doing the job on the day. They all know what their roles are.

“We’ve got some decent experience within the side. All the boys play a good level of league cricket, some boys have played minor counties cricket and have been around a county second team.

“We’ve got a few younger lads that have come in as well, so a decent blend.”

Having arrived in Australia at the start of the week, England’s preparations were initially hampered by rain but Denning thinks they are now ready for action.

“They’ve gone really well so far, we’ve had five indoor training sessions now,” he said. "The weather hasn’t helped, fortunately we’ve been able to secure an indoor facility.

“We’ve managed to get outside for the first time this morning, which was really important, for our fielding session. So we’ve been going well.

“The weather didn’t help at the start but we’ve turned that around now and we’re in good shape.”

Three of the tourists - George Greenway, James Schofield and Michael Weathersby - are in the squad for the first time and Denning says all the players are coping well Down Under.

“I think it’s no different to any other side coming out here, to be fair,” he added. “It’s a new environment for us. We’ve been used to training indoors at Shrewsbury.

“We know our facilities back home, we know the surfaces that we play on back home and some of these boys have never been away playing international cricket before.

“So there’s a whole host of different challenges but we’ve prepared, we know it’s a challenging few weeks ahead but an exciting one as well.”