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Time to perform

Posted in Disability Cricket

Ian Martin

Once the players cross the line, it is down to them and we as staff can only hope that their hard work pays off

So after all our goodbyes have been said, finally the date of our departure has arrived and the culmination of two years of preparation is about to begin. The sense of anticipation prior to an overseas tour is tangible.

Will we perform well, will the boys do themselves justice, have the opposition improved? All questions that we are asking ourselves quietly but without knowing the answers.

The only thing that we have been in control of has been our own preparation and creating the right environment around the team for them to perform to the best of their ability. As with any sport, once the players cross the line, it is down to them and we as staff can only hope that their hard work pays off when it matters.

I am fortunate with all our national Disability squads that we have fantastic management teams surrounding and supporting them. In addition to the preparation for cricket there is also the subject of eligibility of the players to compete at international level that needs to be addressed. This can take a lot of time.

Levels of learning disability in particular can be time consuming to establish and the checks are thorough. Rightly so in my opinion, we have to have a level playing field.

The ECB is fortunate to have established a very strong relationship with the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disabilities, whose support has been invaluable in processing the international registrations to clear our cricketers to play at international level.

I know, for example, that many people have gone above and beyond to ensure that the necessary paperwork has been processed and clearances attained to enable our players to compete. All important worked that is essential but often goes unnoticed and unrecognised.

So to all those people and organisations that have supported the preparation of the England Learning Disability squad over the last two years, parents of players, staff at indoor facilities up and down the country, educational psychologists, UKSAPLD, INAS, Nick Jones and countless others - a massive thank you.

It is down to the players now - but thanks to you they are in as good a shape as they could possibly be for the challenges that lie ahead of them in South Africa.