Valjee lauded following MBE
Disability cricket has united in praise of Umesh Valjee after the England Deaf team captain was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
The award caps a magnificent 12 months for the opening batsman whose exploits on the England Deaf tour of Australia last winter saw him named ECB Disability Cricketer of the Year.
During that trip he scored three centuries for England in the first four games and was named the player of the series.
ECB national disability manager Ian Martin led the accolades for Valjee who made his international debut in 1992 and has since played 56 times for England, 43 of those as captain.
"On behalf of the ECB and everybody involved in disability cricket in England and Wales I would like to congratulate Umesh on his award," said Martin.
"He has been the outstanding performer in international deaf cricket for many many years and his reputation both as a player and as a gentleman extends far beyond our shores.
"In disability cricket a talent like his comes along once in a generation and those who have played alongside him or watched him play have been fortunate to do so. He has set the benchmark for others to aspire to and he is the perfect role model for all aspiring deaf cricketers."
Bobby Denning, who is head coach of the England Deaf squad, was also fulsome in his praise of Valjee who averages 49 in Test cricket with a top score of 186 against Australia in 2004.
"This is fantastic news for Umesh, the Deaf squad and the disability game in England," said Denning.
“I am delighted that Umesh has received such a prestigious honour. His contribution towards international deaf cricket as a player and captain has been outstanding. He has been a top performer for such a long time.
"People often ask me about the standard of international deaf cricket and Umesh is more often than not the player I refer to. I often say 'I could watch him bat all day' and based on his continued success at the crease I have been fortunate to have done this on many occasions during my time as head coach. I know colleagues who have worked with him previously will agree.
"For any player looking to break into the elite deaf group, they should look no further than Umesh, as a role model."
England Cricket Association for the Deaf chairman Stefan Pichowski echoed Denning's words and added that Valjee is an inspiration to deaf cricketers.
"On behalf of ECAD we would like to send our congratulations to Umesh on his thoroughly deserved honour," said Pichowski.
"I have seen with my own eyes that he is an outstanding role model for deaf children, young deaf people, deaf cricketers and fellow hearing cricketing peers. These people are from all across the world in the UK, Australia, India, South Africa, Dubai and beyond.
"He has proven the benchmark and inspiration for many others to follow his footsteps. This is due to his outstanding talent on the cricket field, his conduct off the field, dignity, hard work, his love and enthusiasm of the game and for deaf cricket."