THREE LANCASHIRE players have been called up to the England Physical Disability squad for the forthcoming tour to the United Arab Emirates.
England Physical Disability Head Coach, Chris Ellison, has named a fifteen-man squad, which includes Lancashire's Steve Braithwaite, Callum Flynn and Jordan Williams, to play a six-match ODI and T20 international series against the Pakistan Physical Disability team in the UAE next month.
The fourteen-day tour, which gets underway on the 16th March, will consist of three forty over One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals, all played at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.
Cheshire’s Jimmy Williams has once again been charged with captaining the side, which includes six uncapped players at an international level.
It will be the second time that England’s Physical Disability team has contested an official international series against their counterparts from Pakistan, following the team’s inaugural tour to the UAE in 2012. On that occasion Pakistan proved to be too strong, as Williams’ England side went down 2-0 in the T20 series and subsequently lost the ODIs 2-1.
Commenting about the tour and the fifteen players selected, England Physical Disability Head Coach, Chris Ellison, said: “The squad is a mix of experience and youth and I'm particularly pleased that we have been able to add six new players to this touring party, who have not played international cricket before. The introduction of such talented young players to the set-up is evidence for the continued development of our national disability cricket programme.
“A lot of hard work has happened, both on and off the field, since we last played against Pakistan in Dubai two years ago. All of the players learnt a great deal then, and with the recent instigation of the new regional talent development centres, the players are well prepared for the challenges they will once again face.”
ECB’s Head of Disability Cricket, Ian Martin, added: “Representing England is the pinnacle for any cricketer and so I am pleased for all of the players that have been selected for this tour. Pakistan proved to be a tough nut to crack in 2012, they are a strong side and we will have to perform at our very best to beat them, but I am confident that we have selected a squad that can do that."
The fifteen players will be joined by Head Coach, Chris Ellison, newly appointed Assistant Coach, Qasim Ali, Team Manager Neil Bradshaw, and physio Sian Morgan, to form a nineteen-strong touring party.
Bobby Denning, Acting Director for the Lancashire Cricket Board, added: "I'd like to congratulate Callum, Jordan and Steve on their selection in the England PD squad. Lancashire has the highest representation in the squad and an additional promising Lancastrian on the fringes. This bodes well for disability cricket in Lancashire and demonstrates to those entering our programmes at grassroots level, that these opportunities to play at the top level exist with hard work and dedication.
"My congratulations also go to Qasim Ali, a Lead Coach at the Club's Indoor Cricket Centre, who has been appointed the Assistant Coach of the squad."
England Physical Disability Squad in full:
Jimmy Williams (captain) Cheshire
Matt Askin Staffordshire
Ollie Barton* Northamptonshire
Matt Blamire* Somerset
Steve Braithwaite* Lancashire
Fred Bridges Surrey
Dan Hamm Cheshire
Alex Hammond* Hampshire
Callum Flynn Lancashire
Gordon Laidlaw Yorkshire
Iain Nairn* Northumberland
Dan Reynaldo Hampshire
Liam Thomas Yorkshire
Jordan Williams* Lancashire
Sam Wyles Warwickshire
*Denotes uncapped player
Image: Lancashire's Callum Flynn