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A time for change

Posted in Disability Cricket

Having just read over the last blog that I did, back in August, it is interesting to note how quickly things can change in cricket.

At the beginning of August I recorded that our blind team were preparing for a home series against Pakistan and that our deaf team were preparing for a World Cup in New Zealand.

Both series were subsequently cancelled for very different reasons, both outside of cricket’s control.

You may have read through media coverage of the story that the Pakistanis were declined entry visas into the UK. Sadly this is not just a cricket related issue as other groups from Pakistan have also been declined entry to the UK. It just goes to show the impact the unstable security situation in Pakistan is having on everyday people who just want to play sport.

I am pleased to report that we are currently in negotiation with the PCB to play a blind cricket series against Pakistan in the UAE next spring.

Our guys were so looking forward to playing Pakistan, who are regarded as the best blind team in the world, as it would have been a measure of how far the team had progressed since the defeat of Australia last year.

The Deaf Cricket World Cup has been postponed by the host country, New Zealand, as a result of there being a shortfall in the sponsorship required to stage the tournament.

The hosts have requested a further 12 months to find the necessary finances to stage the tournament.

It goes without saying that this has been a major blow to all the countries involved but despite the disappointment I think that the key word here is 'postponed' and our deaf players can look forward to a properly-organised tournament at the end of 2010. I am sure our players will demonstrate a high standard of cricket.

In another major international development, I had the responsibility of conducting the first ever audit of disability cricket provision on behalf of the ICC.

The report was delivered at the end of October and as I write it is under consideration. I hope that the recommendations made within it will see a positive and more financially certain future for all aspects of disability cricket that is supported by governing bodies under the auspices of ICC.

Of particular importance to me is the establishment of a world governing body for physical disability cricket under the ICC banner. It is an interesting time for all impairment groups and their governing bodies with so many issues affecting the delivery of the game and future international schedules.

England Blind

After having their summer series with Pakistan cancelled, the England blind team hope to be on the field in the spring

I’ve mentioned above the impact of security and of the global economic crisis on disability cricket and if we are to govern the game effectively we need to be creative and forward thinking as to how we achieve a standard of governance that ICC and national governing bodies would want to support.

The profile that disability cricket now enjoys is due in no small amount to the support it has had from ECB’s Head of Development, Pete Ackerley.

Pete leaves ECB at the end of November to take up a new and challenging role with The Football Association. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Pete, on behalf of everybody involved in all aspects of disability cricket, for all his support and efforts on our behalf over a number of years and wish him all the best in his new role.

Going forward disability cricket will sit in the non-first class cricket arena and I will report into Paul Bedford, the head of that department. Paul is a great guy and is very supportive of what we are trying to achieve in terms of the raising of standards within all areas of disability cricket. I am sure that he will continue to provide the support that disability cricket needs at senior management level.

Pete and David Collier will be joining myself and the England Learning Disability Squad for dinner on the evening before the squad fly out to Australia for the third Tri Nations Series for Cricketers with Learning Disabilities.

The tournament is being held in Melbourne and the game to look forward to is Australia against England at the MCG on Tuesday December 8th. What an experience that promises to be.