Highgate-based England captain happy with team’s performance at Blind World Cup in South Africa
- Credit: Archant
England captain Matt Dean says his team have learned a great deal from their experience at the Blind World Cup despite defeat in the semi-finals.
Dean, who plays for Highgate-based London Metro, led England’s visually impaired team in South Africa in their bid to become world champions for the first time.
Victories over the host nation and Australia set up a semi-final clash with Pakistan – but that was where England’s hopes ended as they went down by eight wickets, with their opponents going on to lose to India in the final.
It was still a productive tournament for Dean, who weighed in with a total of 247 runs at an average of 41.2 and was crowned batsman of the year in the B2 category.
“It was a huge success for us, I believe,” said Dean. “Unfortunately we did not get to the final but, to get that far at least, we were really pleased. We have learnt a lot about ourselves.
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“Pakistan are a very good team. We had a target in mind in terms of the score we wanted to post but we probably left ourselves a bit short by about 50 or 60 runs.
“We gave as good as we could – unfortunately Pakistan were just a bit better. It was still an amazing experience.
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“It’s a challenge but one I’d love to do again. People stepped up, there was no one that really failed with the bat and we could take a lot out of the experience.”
Dean will now take a break for Christmas before turning his attention to next summer’s series against India – and he is confident England can emerge victorious over the world champions.
“They are the T20 world champions and now the one-day world champions,” he added. “We will be able to test ourselves against them and we feel that we can cause an upset.
“We have to show them respect but we are an improving side and things are looking really positive. Watching India in the final, we don’t see ourselves as too far behind them.”
Dean’s London Metro team-mate Amit Amin was also part of the squad and, although now 48, he is keen to continue representing England as long as possible.
“Apart from one game, I felt that I bowled quite well throughout the tournament, but my best moment was clean bowling one of the B3 category Pakistan players,” said Amin.
“Since my last World Cup, [head coach] Ross Hunter has come in and we’ve had great support from the ECB, which meant we were much more prepared this time.
“Personally I’m just looking to carry on and keep trying to improve while playing more games. I’ve played 18 times for England now and want to add to that.”
The England Blind team’s next tournament will be in May 2015, taking on world champions India in England. For more information about Blind Cricket or to find your nearest club, please go to www.bcew.co.uk