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Losing the Powers of speech on meeting Richie

Posted in Disability Cricket

Matthew Dean

The England Blind Team skipper leads his side into battle on Wednesday

We had a day off on Monday and half of the squad went to a nearby wildlife sanctuary where Mo [Mahomed Khatri] and Joe [Harrison] had their first encounters with a kangaroo and a koala.

The way that they reacted to touching them was like they were handling one of the poisonous red back spiders that we saw later in the day.

The rest of the team went off to take a look around Sydney and some of them were able to meet up with family and friends that have flown over to support us.

Monday evening was an exciting night as we were hosted at a reception by the Deputy British Consul Paul Noon in Sydney. The location was spectacular with great views over Circular Quay, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

It was also notable for being the first time that I can recall any of the boys refusing free beer.

We were also privileged to meet Richie Benaud and watching 'Freddie' [Andy Powers] become speechless for possibly the first time in his life upon meeting the legend was great for all who witnessed it.

Ian Martin Richie Benaud

ECB National Disability Cricket Manager Ian Martin meets legendary commentator Richie Benaud

Some of our squad, including my brother Gavin, are vegetarians. He was bemoaning the fact that being a veggie in Oz is not the easiest thing, so he was not impressed when the Deputy British Consul informed him that it is ten times worse for veggies in New Zealand, which is where our family are flying after the tour has finished.

Today we played our only warm up game against New South Wales and we played very well to defeat them comfortably in what for us are quite testing conditions.

The temperature is around 35 degrees and we have learned a lot about how our bodies react to playing in such temperatures. Hydration is the key.

I'm looking forward to the first international tomorrow at Waitara Oval where we can’t wait to get stuck into the Aussies.

England Blind Team

Matt and his team-mates take in the view ahead of Wednesday's Ashes opener against Australia

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