Hillingdon’s Matt Page insists England’s visually impaired cricket team don’t fear anyone as they prepare to head out to the Blind World Cup.
Page is part of a 17-man squad that will head to South Africa in November to take on the best teams from around the globe, starting with Sri Lanka on November 27.
The 24-year-old, who has Stargardt disease, has been playing visually impaired cricket for eight years and is hoping to make a real impact at the tournament.
However, with the likes of India and Pakistan also vying for the title of world champions, Page knows it’s going to be a tough task.
But the Brunel University student sees no reason why England can’t make history and claim their first-ever Blind World Cup crown.
“We only meet up once a month, we do our training out of that time so it can be difficult to find your rhythm with each other sometimes,” Page said.
“I don’t really fear any opposition, you go into it and you’ve got to be the aggressor and be confident in your own abilities and the abilities of your teammates.
“But within the last decade Pakistan and India their names are bound to crop up they’ve been the ones who’ve found the most form.
“Especially with the talent pool they’ve got out there with ten, 20, 50 times more players who are participating they’re bound to find a few good players.
“I’d love to win it but we know how hard that would be. I think a good performance would be getting to the final.”
Page isn’t the only star heading out to South Africa with 48-year-old Amit Amin from Ealing also set to play a big role in England’s bid for glory.
And Amin, who also suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, says the chance to be a part of England’s visually impaired setup is an honour.
“This is my second World Cup and I’m really excited. I think we’ve got a pretty good chance of reaching the final,” said Amin.
“Gradually in the 90s I was losing my sight and I was going through a rocky patch. I didn’t know any VI’s or where to turn to for support and that is the reason why I didn’t go into cricket.
“Blind Cricket has given me lots of chances and more importantly it is such a social aspect of life and it has helped me to be more confident in life in general.
“I got such a confidence boost playing with other vi’s.
“I’m one of the older guys. I always get a lot of ribbing. They are getting younger and younger, that’s the problem!”
ECB is an inclusive organisation providing support and a pathway for disability cricket from grassroots to elite.
Follow the England Visually Impaired Squad in South Africa at www.ecb.co.uk