Ian MartinBIRKENHEAD’S Ian Martin insists the only way is up for disabled cricket as England’s visually impaired team get ready to challenge for next month’s Blind World Cup.

Martin, head of disability cricket at the English Cricket Board, is adamant that England are leading the way with the infrastructure they have in place for success, writes Marios Papaloizou.

However the 44-year-old is not about to put any pressure on the 17-man side heading to South Africa for November’s Blind World Cup, England kicking things off against Sri Lanka on November 27 in Capetown.

With the likes of India and Pakistan to overcome England will face stiff competition to take the top prize for the first time in their history.

But for Martin the most important thing is that the team perform to the best of their abilities, and if they do that then they will be in with a shout of silverware.

He said: “What we look to do with all our squads is for our guys to be as best prepared as they can be and to perform to their potential.

“If we achieve that and they end up coming home with a World Cup then fantastic “Winning the tournament depends on a lot of factors but what we have to control is the ones that we can deal with.

“The aim for us is to do our best and look to control what we can within our group.

“I think disability cricket on a massively upward trajectory. We are recognized as being the world leaders in this side of the sport.

“Professionally, it’s really rewarding for myself to be involved and to have the support of the wider ECB.”

England’s last World Cup campaign in 2012 saw them reach the semi-finals of the T20 tournament in India and this time around the minimum expectation is to match that performance.

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And Martin is hoping the competition will inspire disabled people throughout the country to take up sport after seeing firsthand the impact it can have.

He said: “We got to the semi finals last time around so this time we will definitely be looking to get one better.

“We have the best support structure and infrastructure of any nation in the world.

“I think all the reasons that anyone gets involved in sport are relevant for disabled sport and in many cases more so.

“We want to give the opportunity to all disabled people to get involved in the sport.

“There’s an incredible level of comradeship, competition and teamwork going on among the players and that’s no different to any other sport.

“But the level of confidence and self esteem disabled people can gain from being involved in sport is immeasurable.”

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

Wirral Globe