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Out with the old, in with the new

Posted in Disability Cricket

Now that the tour is over and the jet lag has been dealt with, this is my final blog regarding the Tri Series.

Readers will be aware that we were beaten on run-rate in a rain affected final against Australia. We have to be honest to ourselves when we say that Australia are still the best side in international MLD cricket, so we can have no complaints.

I am happy with the progress the squad has made and I am confident in saying that our preparations were as thorough as they could have been and we have been rewarded for that by reaching the final.

I have said in previous blogs that the international MLD game has moved on significantly over the past few years and our squad is no different.

Players are expected to not only practice and perform in the same way as any other England cricketer, but to also conduct themselves off the field in a professional manner.

Colleagues involved in the disabled game continue to hear me at every opportunity referring to the 'brand' of our game and ensuring that the product is first class.

The tour has set the standard for the players, staff and interested followers. At the level the squad is at and the professional environment in which it finds itself, anything less than a 100 per cent focus on everything that representing ECB brings is not acceptable.

I say this because we can sometimes hide behind the players having a disability and the problems that can bring can become excuses for less than a 100 per cent focus.

It is quite simply about winning cricket matches in the international arena and I am pleased to say we have now done this and now must take it to an even higher level - both players and management.

As with any squad, players will need to be brought in if they are better that what we already have. We wouldn’t have been in a position to say this four years ago and I hope the squad sees new faces as they prepare for the next Tri Series in 2011.

Mentioning the future leads me to my next point. It was decided some time ago that having completed my Level Four coaching qualification, I would change roles and take over as Head Coach of the England Deaf squad.

I was fortunate enough to complete the qualification this time last year and it was agreed that I would work with the MLD squad up until the end of the Tri Series in Melbourne. The MLD players were advised of this after the final. I have worked with the squad for five years and hope I have made a difference.

So the New Year will see me working with my new squad of players which is something I am very excited about. I hope to build on the fantastic work of Ron Young and Blythe Duncan, both of whom will still be involved.

So that’s the MLD Tri Series over with. Success on the field? Yes, but we could have done better. Progress? Yes!

Whilst our objective was to win the competition but the reality was that we are still short of the Australians. So to reach the final and get our first win in international competitition under our belts, we can say that the tournament was a success.

Thanks for reading my blogs from the tour and I hope to write more from my time with the England Deaf squad.

All the best to everyone who has followed the tour.