England Deaf will have a new skipper in tomorrow's Deaf ICC Championship opener against South Africa in Dubai, with Paul Allen replacing 20-year incumbent Umesh Valjee.
Valjee (MBE) first captained England Deaf in 1996 after making his Test debut against Australia in 1992 and among many achievements was named England Disability Cricketer of the Year in 2011.
Commenting on his decision, Valjee said: “After speaking with the management team I have decided the time is right for a change. It has been a great honour and a privilege to captain England Deaf since 1996 and I hope I have played a part in building a successful side over the years.
“Being a part of the team has made me the person I am today and I thank all past and present players and staff for allowing me this great honour for so long.
“I'm looking forward to continuing to play for England as long as I'm selected to do so.”
The Deaf ICC Championship is the first international series for England since their unbeaten tour to South Africa in 2013 and features a new-look management team including Head Coach Phil Hudson and Assistant Coach Mark Nash.
Hudson's squad will play three round-robin 50-over fixtures against South Africa, Pakistan and India ahead of the final and the third v fourth play-off, both of which take place on Monday 14 March.
Speaking about the importance of the tournament, ECB Head of Disability Cricket Ian Martin said: “The England Deaf team are really looking forward to testing themselves against international opposition in the forthcoming Deaf ICC Championship in Dubai.
“It will be the first international series the squad has played since completing a whitewash against South Africa in Pretoria in 2013.
“The team have been training very hard and hopefully they can top off a great 12 months for England’s disability teams and build on the successes of England Visually Impaired, Learning Disability and Physical Disability teams.”
— Luke Wright (@lukewright204) March 3, 2016
England Deaf ICC Championship squad
Paul Allen - captain
Coach – Phil Hudson
Assistant Coach – Mark Nash
England 2016 Deaf ICC Championship fixtures
9 March: England Deaf v South Africa, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai
10 March: England Deaf v Pakistan, ICC Academy Oval 2, Dubai
12 March: England Deaf v India, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai
14 March: Third v fourth play-off, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai
14 March: Final, ICC Academy Oval 2, ICC Academy Oval 2, Dubai