Four disability cricket talent development centres - the first of their kind - will be opened tomorrow.
The ECB initiative, which is funded by Sport England, will provide performance, lifestyle, education and cricket development for players with all types of disabilities who have been identified as having the potential to play for England.
Each centre (North, South East, Midlands and South West) is headed up by an ECB Level 3 coach, known as a Regional Talent Development Manager, and are supported by four coaches who specialise in each of the specific disability groups for which there is a pathway to international representation: blind, deaf, physical disability and learning disability.
In addition to technical cricket development, the players at each centre will also receive nutritional support from an MSc students from Loughborough University and fitness advice from an exercise scientist.
These are the first centres anywhere in the world that are aimed solely at the development of deaf and disabled cricketers with the aim of preparing them for international competition.
The first intake of players have been nominated by county managers and national squad coaches.
“This is a groundbreaking moment for disability cricket in England and Wales,” said Head of Disability Cricket Ian Martin.
“We recognised that the domestic and recreational cricket environment where disabled players play does not prepare the players for international competition.
“Therefore the purpose of the centres is to bridge that gap and to enable our best regional players to have the opportunity to be the best that they can be and hopefully go on to be world’s best disabled players.
“Going forward the aim is to identify raw talent from the many grassroots participation opportunities that are developing up and down the country supported by county cricket boards.
“We are leading the way in disability cricket around the world and this is something we should shout about.”