The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that, for the first time, two of the England Disability coaches will have full-time roles.
Former England international Ian Salisbury has been appointed as the new Head Coach of the England Physical Disability (PD) team and Ross Hunter will continue his work with England Visually Impaired (VI), now in a full-time capacity.
Salisbury, who has worked with the England PD squad over the past two years in the role of Assistant Coach, succeeds Qasim Ali, who was recently appointed Head Coach of the ICC Academy in Dubai. He will combine his new role with continuing to support Mark Robinson and the England women’s team.
Salisbury’s first assignment will be to prepare the England PD squad for games this summer as the side continues to build towards a world tournament in England in 2019.
Hunter recently coached the VI side to the semi-finals of the Blind World Cup in India, before losing to Pakistan in the last four.
“This is an important step change in disability cricket. I’m proud that we are the first international cricket board to make such a step.”
ECB’s Head of Disability Cricket, Ian Martin said: “This is an important step change in disability cricket. I’m proud that we are the first international cricket board to make such a step. It will increase the capacity of our coaches to work with performance squads and is further evidence of the improvement and culture shift within our national squads.
“I’m proud of the fact that we are able to support our players to be able to pursue dual careers – their sporting aspirations and their professional careers. In order to do that we need a high-quality support team and these appointments are a key part of that.
“Ian Salisbury needs no introduction. He has worked as assistant coach for the past two years and this is a great opportunity for him to build on that and put together a group capable of winning forthcoming international PD cricket tournaments.
“Ross Hunter has been Head Coach of the England VI team for the past five years. His elevation to a full-time role is just reward for the improved performance of the side. This move will enable a more focused and consistent approach to talent ID and development of the nation’s most able visually impaired athletes.”
Speaking about his appointment, Salisbury said: “I am very humbled and honoured. Especially knowing that we are the first two coaches in the world to be working full-time in disability cricket. I have been massively inspired by the players themselves and the job in hand.
“We have a great chance to write a new story, to aim to win a world tournament in 2019 and be the number one side in the world. We can only do that through hard work, strategic planning, adaptability, humility and innovation. This will create an environment that puts this team at the forefront of disability cricket in England and the world.
“Taking on this full-time role means that we can do so much more to support the players individually beyond cricket. We know a lot about their cricketing abilities but I want to find out more about their lives and what role cricket plays in it.
“This is more than a cricketing role, there is a real element of personal development. How can we make their lives better away from cricket and that, in turn, will improve their own individual performances and those of the team.”
England Visually Impaired Head Coach Hunter added: “I’m incredibly proud to work with the players on a full-time basis. This decision is a testament to the work they have put in and the progress the squad has made. Our goal is to become the most pioneering visually impaired sports programme in the world and we now have the resources to do that.
“We have gone to previous tournaments with an opportunity to do well, in the future we want to go with a strong chance of winning. That will involve pushing ourselves and working hard to catch up with India and Pakistan.
“Hopefully with my full-time role, I can spend more time with the players to help them continue to develop and be as close to a professional athlete as possible.
“This shows the commitment of the ECB to disability cricket and the incredible work of Ian Martin to create an elite environment of support for the players.”