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Liam Thomas went shopping for Christmas decorations on Sunday morning and returned hours later an internet sensation.

The 22-year-old Yorkshireman, who is a lower right leg amputee and plays for England Physical Disability, became an instant hit on social media when footage of him losing his artificial limb whilst fielding went viral.

BBC Breakfast broadcast the clip, CNN pestered for an interview, other global networks demanded the footage and England players tweeted him.

Thomas went out in search of festive baubles and bells and instead found fame normally reserved for Bieber and Beckham.

“It’s been overwhelming,” said Thomas, who plays for Gomersal in the Bradford League.

“I woke up on Sunday, had breakfast, saw the clip had been tweeted and since then my phone has gone crazy.

“I was out in Bradford with my girlfriend and step-daughter but my phone kept on pinging and pinging – it was unreal. I spent half the day charging my phone because it kept going dead.

“England players have been tweeting it, it’s gone around the world, news channels have been calling me – unbelievable.”

The moment came in the fifth over with Pakistan in pursuit of a very gettable 138 and England desperately trying to save every run. Thomas, stationed at deep square, charged after a well-timed sweep shot which appeared destined for the boundary rope.

Launching himself to stop the ball but losing his prosthetic leg in the process, Thomas was presented with a rather unusual dilemma of what to do first - hobble after the ball and throw it to the keeper or reattach his leg?

"England players have been tweeting it, it’s gone around the world, news channels have been calling me – unbelievable."

Liam Thomas

“I thought it was going to go to the boundary,” he recalled.

“So I flung myself at the ball, got a hand on it, stood up and thought ‘where’s my leg?’

“I looked at my leg and thought ‘oh no, do I put it back on?’ I then looked at the ball, looked at them running and realised I just had to get the ball in as quick as I could. With the runs we had on the board I knew it was going to be a tight game. Natural instinct took over.

“Everyone has been saying ‘you are amazing’ but for me what happened in that clip is normal. My leg has come off a few times when I’ve been playing football, or sometimes when it has become loose. All the lads in the team were laughing their heads off.

“They’ve all taken the micky out of me since and we’ve had loads of banter about it. Iain [Nairn] and Jordan [Williams] were at long on and long off, head in hands, howling. They thought it was hilarious. I did too.”

While Thomas describes that moment as ordinary, his journey into international cricket is anything but.

Born with an underdeveloped right leg, he underwent an amputation, just below the knee, when he was just a year old. He also suffered from tridactyl, the fusing of the fingers, on his right hand, which also required corrective surgery.

A keen footballer, Thomas was first introduced to cricket at a family barbeque when he was 11 and after five years of playing mainstream cricket discovered his county, Yorkshire, ran a disability programme. A successful display at an England talent camp, when he was 16, soon followed and he has been an ever present in the squad since.

Life with England has given Thomas a sense of belonging and a bond to a group of people who have endured similar challenges to him.

“I’ve not known anything different,” he added. “I am disabled and I have struggled but I haven’t allowed it to affect me. Everyone has struggles in life, ours is just more visible.

“I feel like I can be myself when I am with the team. I don’t feel any anxiety. Everyone is the same, we’ve all gone through the same struggles.

"I am disabled and I have struggled but I haven’t allowed it to affect me. Everyone has struggles in life, ours is just more visible."

Liam Thomas

“If I wear shorts when I am out with my friends I’m the one who gets looked at, I’d get nervous about that. In this team we are all the same.

“I speak to Iain, our captain, all the time because he’s been through the same as me. He knows how I feel and can relate to my issues, because he’s been through it.”

Thomas hopes his moment of fame will deliver priceless exposure for his sport. He has first-hand experience of being a disabled cricketer unaware of what opportunities there might be.

“Hopefully the clip can spark interest in our sport,” he added. “People with a disability who want to get into sport but are scared to try it or didn’t think there was an opportunity out there for them. Hopefully people will see the highlights of our games and want to get involved.

“It’s not just about people who are disabled getting on the pitch, although that is an amazing feat, it’s about proving that disability sport is played to a high standard.”

Story of the final - England Physical Disability v Pakistan

Relive the highs and lows of England's final against Pakistan in the ICC Academy Dubai invitational T20 tournament for people with physical disability - with top fielding and changing room reaction.

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