Cricket has always been a part of Jamie’s life. After spending his childhood watching his Dad play many times, an eight-year-old Jamie decided to join junior cricket to have a go and his love for the game is still just as strong today as it was when he was a young boy.
This year (2022) on 8 -17 June, we saw Australia’s disability squads return to the international stage as part of the Commonwealth Bank International Cricket Inclusion series. It was during this series where they took to the pitch for the first time since the pandemic hit, and had the opportunity to take on both England and New Zealand.
So what is the Inclusion Series?
The series included all three of Australia’s National Disability Squads – Blind, Deaf and, Intellectual Disability (ID) where each team would play eight games against teams from England and New Zealand.
A total of 24 games were played across the three disability categories, starting with T20 games followed by one-day matches and a mixture of day and night games.
For Jamie, this was the second time he had the opportunity to represent Australia as part of the Australian Intellectual Disability Cricket team (International Disability team).
“To represent Australia in an international series is always a huge honour, and I'm always just as thrilled to pull on the green and gold”.
While Jamie first played for Australia in 2019, he says it has been tough not being able to play over the past couple of years.
"We’ve been engaged through training camps, high-performance coaching sessions, and online wellbeing and education sessions,” he said.
Although the teams have remained idle while the global pandemic has raged on, the squads have remained fully funded, thanks to the support from the Commonwealth Bank.
Jamie credits the funding as pivotal to the teams success and has allowed him and his teammates to remain in peak form.
“Thanks to Cricket Australia’s partnership with Commonwealth Bank, cricket is the only non-Paralympic Australian sport to fully fund national disability teams. This gives us the resources and tools to perform and compete at an international level”.
So, how do the three squads differ?
Blind cricket is played in predominately the same fashion as a conventional game of cricket, but with some key modifications.
- The ball is made of hard plastic, which rattles or rings when moving
- The stumps are made of metal to generate more noise than the standard wickets
- Bowling must be completed underarm, and deliveries need to bounce twice before reaching the batter
How does Deaf cricket work?
The conditions of play are similar to the conventional standards of cricket. However, the players must have at least 55 decibels of hearing loss. No hearing aids or cochlear implants can be worn whilst on the field.
How can someone join the ID team?
Besides being an outstanding cricketer? the eligibility criteria for those on the team is three-fold, and squad members must meet all three elements of this criteria to be considered.
- Significant impairment in intellectual functioning
- Limitations in adaptive behaviour
- The intellectual disability must be evident before the athlete turns 18
Similar to deaf cricket, the game is played according to the conventional standard.
For more information on the differences and requirements visit the Cricket Australia website.
While England managed to secure a win over the Australian Intellectual Disability squad, and Deaf cricket teams, the Australian Blind Cricket team had a clean sweep to win their series against New Zealand 7-0.
Glancing at Cricket Australia’s Facebook and Instagram, you can see the hard work, dedication and determination of these players and what they put in to be the best in their sport. It is paramount, and it speaks volumes on how valued these National squads are, and what they have achieved over those two weeks.
For every aspiring young cricketer, Jamie says, “You can do it, never give up trying. Disability doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to succeed in life”.
Congratulations to Jamie for donning the green and gold for a second time, and congratulations to everyone involved in making the series possible.