London Metro players lead England bid for glory at Blind World Cup
- Credit: Getty Images for ECB
London Metro cricketer Matt Dean is aiming for glory when he leads England’s visually impaired side to South Africa for the Blind World Cup next month.
Dean, who plays his domestic cricket for the Highgate-based side, will captain the 17-strong England squad who are bidding to become world champions for the first time.
The 31-year-old, who has retinitis pigmentosa, is confident his side can upset the odds when they get their campaign under way against Sri Lanka on November 27.
“We’re going out there to win the World Cup,” said Dean, who has been playing the game since 2003. “Obviously you’ve got India and Pakistan, who are strong teams.
“They play really hard, challenging cricket but I feel we have got the tools now to deal with that and hopefully we can go all the way. That’s the plan anyway.
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“I was basically at a loose end when my eyesight began to deteriorate and I stopped playing sports.
“Playing competitive sport is vitally important because it gives you the understanding of what it’s like to win and lose.
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“I’d never been in a situation where I was winning or losing for my country, so that was new and it takes a bid of adjusting – but I can’t believe I am off to a World Cup even now.”
London Metro will be the best represented side in the tournament, with England’s squad also including Dean’s older brother Gavin, Mark Bond, Ryan Jones, Hassan Khan, Matt Page and 48-year-old Amit Amin.
Amin, who also suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, will be featuring in his second Blind World Cup and says his involvement with the game has made an enormous difference to his life.
“Gradually in the 1990s I was losing my sight and I was going through a rocky patch,” he recalled. “I didn’t know any VIs [visually impaired people] 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. It has helped me to be more confident in life in general.
“I got such a confidence boost playing with other VIs. I’m one of the older guys and I always get a lot of ribbing. They are getting younger and younger, that’s the problem.”
n 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