England’s blind cricket team, with seven Londoners in the line-up, are not-so quietly confident about their chances at the Blind Cricket World Cup which opens in South Africa tomorrow.
Hillingdon’s Matt Page and Ealing’s Amit Amin are joined in the 17-man squad by fellow Londoners, Gavin Dean, Mark Bond, Ryan Jones, Hassan Khan and skipper Matt Dean.
All seven play their domestic Cricket for London’s Blind Cricket team, London Metro.
Speaking ahead of the World Cup, Page said: “My expectation is we are going to win the World Cup.
“Preparations have been going really well. I’ve been training a lot over the last few months. I train once a month with the rest of the squad and regularly train for around eight hours a week.
“My training regime has involved going to the gym, practicing in the nets and eating a healthy diet.”
When asked who England’s main rivals will be to win the tournament, the 23-year-old said: “Pakistan and India always perform well in blind cricket and are among the favourites but it will be interesting to see how the other countries perform.”
Page, who has macular degeneration, has been playing Blind Cricket for six years and made his England debut in a T20 against Australia in 2012.
He considers his best attributes to be his batting and fielding and his highest score for England is 25 not out against the West Indies at the Blind Cricket T20 World Cup in India in 2012.
England’s campaign starts on Thursday when they face one of the tournament favourites, Pakistan.
England have played at three World Cups finishing third each time.
In 2012 England finished fourth in the first Blind cricket T20 world cup.
Thursday 27th November – England v Pakistan
Friday 28th November – England v South Africa
Saturday 29th November – England v India
Tuesday 2nd December – England v Bangladesh
Wednesday 3rd December – England v Sri Lanka
Thursday 4th December – England v Australia
Saturday 6th December – Semi Finals
Sunday 7th December – Final
How is Blind Cricket played?
Blind cricket is a form of cricket played by people with a visual impairment, who have a sight classification ranging from B1 to B4.
Players in the B1 category will have virtually no sight but may have some light / dark perception and players with a B4 classification are the players with the most sight.
The International game is played to the normal laws of cricket with a few adaptations.
The game is played with a small ball with ball bearings in and bowled under arm which can reach speeds of 60-70mph.
The bowler must ask the batsmen ‘ready’ and they must wait for a response from the batsmen before they can bowl. As they release the ball the bowler must shout ‘play’.
When the ball is bowled it must bounce once either side of the middle of the crease.
Brightly coloured stumps are used so they are easier for the partially sighted players to see.