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Busy time as the new season blows our way

Posted in Disability Cricket

Hard to believe as I write this that the new season is little over a month away. I’ve just been rearranging our garden furniture after the worst storm of the winter (the BBC said so) deposited seats and barbeque covers in our flower beds.

One plus point was that I managed to find a Gunn and Moore Swing King ball that my seven-year-old despatched into the hedge off my bowling last summer!

I seem to remember me protesting that if it entered the hedge without bouncing he was out because I always have a man at deep square leg for the lofted pull shot. He just raised two hands above his head and told me to pitch it up next time. Story of my life………

Hopefully you will have noticed some changes to the disability section of the ECB website. I think it is important that those involved in playing the game or who are looking to get involved are aware of how the game is governed and who governs it, hence the appearance of the profile section of the Disability Management Committee.

They won’t mind me saying that it’s a bit of an ugly mugs gallery, but at least faces can be put to names. Going forward you will also see an events calendar added to the site soon that will detail matches and events taking place throughout the year, so if your team’s fixture secretary hasn’t advised your tournament administrator of your fixtures yet, please encourage them to do so and we will get them published on the website.

The website is only as good as the information provided to it so if you have any news at all regarding disability cricket in your area please forward a report to disabilitycricket@ecb.co.uk and we’ll get it up on the site so that everyone can be aware of what is going on.

One of the most interesting meetings that I have had recently was with the Outreach Team from Slough NHS Trust. They have been running a cricket programme for individuals with mental health problems that has proved really successful.

Illnesses such as Bi Polar and Schizophrenia are common in society and can leave the individual on the outside of community activities such as sport. The cricket programme run in Slough, with the help of Slough Cricket Club is a great example of how cricket can help support vulnerable individuals and integrate them back into mainstream society.

We hope to run a tournament later in the year where other Outreach Teams from around the country can participate against each other.

At the Elite end of the disabled game many of our players are now receiving the benefits of TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) funding. Our cricketers are receiving expert one-to-one coaching at county academies and attending sessions on health and nutrition, strength and conditioning, media and psychology amongst other things.

The funding is making a real difference to these players which will hopefully evidence itself in improved performances this summer.

Success at the elite level of sport needs to be underpinned by a coherent domestic structure. To this end ECB are in the process of introducing Regional Development Forums where those with expertise in all aspects of disability cricket can meet with County Board development staff to discuss the delivery of disability cricket projects within that region.

I will be at Headingley this coming Thursday evening to make a presentation to the North region on how the forums will help to deliver sustainable development activity. The north has enjoyed a lot of success in disability cricket development largely thanks to the existing development forums in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Hopefully we will be able to use the experience that these counties have gained over the years to help more rural counties such as Cumbria and Northumberland in their disability cricket development.

This coming Friday sees the annual CFPD (Cricket Federation for People with Disabilities) fixture at the MCC Indoor School at Lord’s. Teams representing England and Wales battle it out in two games, each for different classifications of disability.

I used to really enjoy visiting Lord’s to play in these games and I am sure that all of the players involved this year will be looking forward to the event just as much. Good luck to both sides and all spectators will be welcomed, just bring some money for the raffle!

Unfortunately I’ll miss that game as I’ll be at Loughborough for meetings with blind cricket prior to the England Blind squad having a training weekend at the National Performance centre at the weekend.

The squad are preparing for the visit of West Indies in August and for a visit to Australia later in the year so all will be looking to impress and ensure their place in the final squads.

As ever, if you have any questions regarding disability cricket please do not hesitate to email disabilitycricket@ecb.co.uk. We’ve already been able to introduce new players to counties and clubs as a result of these blogs and there has also been lots of interest from abroad too.

Good luck in your preparations for the new season which thankfully isn’t too far away now!!

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