12 April 2011 Cricket, Lovely Disability Cricket
Are you interested in cricket? Do you watch it on TV, go to live matches, read about it in the papers? Have you ever wanted to play, yourself, but never heard of a club offering disability cricket? If the answer is 'yes' to any of these questions then the following passages are for you.
Recently, I met the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) National Disability Cricket Manager, Ian Martin, at the home of cricket, Lords.
Ian talked me through the many ways Trailblazers can get involved and play cricket.
Firstly, Ian, who has a neuromuscular condition himself, explained that there are currently approximately 2000 disabled club cricketers in the UK, 1200 of whom play in mainstream local clubs. There are deaf, blind, learning disability, and a newly created physical disability national squads, as well as table cricket.
To get involved in playing cricket you should contact your local county cricket board, who can put you in touch with clubs in your area that run teams for disabled cricketers.
Ian himself got involved in disability cricket through an advert in a newspaper in 2000. He had previously played non-disability cricket but decided to stop in 1994 when issues related to his condition meant mainstream cricket stopped being enjoyable.
He joined the Welsh Association for Cricketers with Disabilities and before he knew it he had become the organisation's voluntary secretary. Not long after this Ian made it his goal to raise the profile of disability cricket nationally and professionalise the administration of the sport, eventually leading to his appointment at the ECB.
Ian says that England and Wales lead the world with regard to disability cricket and the national deaf, blind and learning difficulties team already play regular international matches against Australia. However, his main objective at the moment is to share his belief that cricket is as good a sport as any for a disabled person looking for something that sticks to the original laws of the game. He is also determined to make sure that any disabled person who wants to be involved in cricket can be.