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England Blind

The ECB's newly-unveiled Talent Development Programme is geared towards helping England winning the blind Ashes in 2012

The ECB has launched a Visually Impaired Talent Development Programme to support the development of more international visually impaired cricketers.

The programme will play a vital role in bringing new players to the international fold and sets out a clear direction for player development over the next two years to help develop a competitive team for the blind Ashes in 2012.

One of the key elements of the programme is to give players experience of using the international ball, which is smaller and harder then the one used in the domestic game.

The ECB Visually Impaired Talent Development Programme will engage with a number of cricket and non-cricket partners to create a clear pathway to international cricket.

Chris Porter, head coach of the visually impaired squad, said: “The ECB Visually Impaired Talent Development Programme is an exciting development for blind cricket.

“It will create a competitive performance-based environment to support the development of current and new high-potential players.

“I am looking forward to the next two years, working with current and new players in the build-up to the Ashes in 2012.

“I have no doubt that the Visually Impaired Talent Development Programme will be of great benefit to all those who are involved.

“It’s fantastic for blind cricket in England to receive such good support from a number of cricket and non-cricket partners.”

The ECB is breaking new ground with the programme as it is the first governing body in the world to develop blind cricket in this way.

Ian Martin, ECB national disability cricket manager said: “The ECB has been in overall charge of the England blind team for three years and in that time we have learnt a lot about international blind cricket.

"We have enjoyed series wins at home against West Indies and the Ashes success in Australia.

“In 2009 Nathan Foy was crowned ECB’s first Disabled Cricketer of the Year and in 2010 he broke the world record score for a batsman in international blind cricket.

“It has been a period of great success mixed with some disappointing losses. Having reviewed our performances over this period, we want to take some time to review our talent pool and give players new to the international ball a chance to come and get involved.

“Our aim is to bring together a strong, highly talented and motivated team ready to defend the blind Ashes at home in the summer of 2012.”

Visually impaired players who wish to express an interest in the Talent Development Programme should contact disablitycricket@ecb.co.uk.