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Deserved reward for captain marvel

Posted in Disability Cricket

Last month England Deaf's mighty captain Umesh Valjee was presented with the prestigious award of England Disability Cricketer of the Year.

Umesh, England Deaf team coach Bobby Denning, National Disability Cricket Manager Ian Martin and myself went to Lord's for the special dinner in the Long Room.

It was a star studded evening - well, cricket stars anyway. Many of the men's team were there - we even had KP sitting on our table. The women's team were also there along with several other notable names from cricket.

Nasser Hussain, who was MC for the night, interviewed each award winner when they came on stage to receive their respective trophy.

The TwelfthMan Moment of the Year was won by James Anderson, Lydia Greenway was the Women's Player of the Year, England Player of the Year went to Jonathon Trott and the lifetime award went to Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff.

Umesh had his award presented to him by England captain Andrew Strauss and was then asked a few questions by Nasser. Despite Umesh always claiming to be shy at such occasions, he did very well and raised a few laughs with the crowd.

As the dinner drew to a close, many people came up to congratulate him, including Andy Flower, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Trott, Richard Halsall, Mike Gatting, Claire Taylor, who has started learning British Sign Language, and Clare Connor.

Umesh Valjee

Umesh poses for a photo with Nasser Hussain after winning his Disability Cricketer of the Year award in the Lord's pavilion

Before we went home, Umesh was also interviewed by Sky Sports and also for the ECB website.

Ian also organised an extra very special presentation before the beginning of the whole event. He had Umesh's shirt and the three scorecards that recorded each of his 100s from the recent tour to Australia framed. Ian had also managed to persuade KP to present it to him.

What an honour and great surprise for Umesh who was really happy to receive it, although not quite so happy to have to get it home.

It was a great evening that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Ian for organising such a wonderful evening in such an amazing place.

I wonder who the next deaf cricketer will be to be honoured in such a way.

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