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Seeing Olympic spirit in disability cricket

Posted in Disability Cricket

It has been many moons since I last took the time to sit and write a blog. Much has happened in that time and it feels appropriate to sit and reflect on what has been an incredible 2012.

I have to start by mentioning the England Physical Disability tour to Dubai earlier this year.

At the time, we were bitterly disappointed to return home having tasted success in only one of our games against Pakistan. Looking back, we learned far more in defeat than we ever could have imagined.

The waters were always muddy with regard to the standard of opposition we would face, how the conditions would affect our game and how the team would adapt to being on tour for almost three weeks.

I truly believe we got most things right and only lack of experience prevented us from taking the Twenty20 series. We know how good Pakistan are now - make no mistake, they are very good - but after adding five new faces to an already talented squad, we are on the road to bridging the gap.

We know Pakistan will improve and grow but we believe in our players and our processes and we will be in far better shape next time around.

As a country, we have experienced the most inspirational summer of sport imaginable. The Olympics have graced these shores for the third time in history and what an incredible job we have done in hosting it.

A summer filled with golden memories for Team GB has lifted the entire country. For me, it felt as though we all came together with one common goal, supporting not only our own Olympians but also those from every part of the world.

I have heard many people talking about the spirit of the Olympics, how other sports can learn so much from the way the athletes conduct themselves, the sporting attitude of the spectators and the general feel-good spirit.

Neil Bradshaw

Although extremely competitive on the field, disability cricket is always played in the right spirit which is very pleasing to see

I have been immensely proud throughout the course of the games, not only because Team GB have performed so incredibly well both in competition and behind the scenes, but mainly because I see this Olympic spirit first hand in disability cricket.

That same sense of togetherness resonates throughout our sport - the players' understanding for each other, fierce in competion but empathetic to each other's circumstances.

The staff and volunteers who help deliver and administrate our game can stand side by side with those who delivered the games in London.

The Paralympics start in a few days, another reason for the country to join together and celebrate the incredible achievements of some truly outstanding individuals. It is inevitable that we will draw comparisons between disability cricket and the Paralympians and I am sure that the spirit we see in the games will be similar to the spirit within cricket.

For me, the games will highlight everything that is good about sport, no matter where you come from, no matter the colour of your skin, no matter the nature of your disability. Sport is for everybody.

It is a familiar tale for all of us involved in cricket. Just take a moment to read the 'One Game' pledge and you will see that even though cricket may not be an Olympic or Paralympic sport, the spirit of the game encompasses all.

The PD squad head off to the North East next week for a three day mini-tour. We will be doing our all to deliver good results as well as showing that disability cricket remains at the top of its game.

Good luck for the rest of the season and thanks for reading.