Hosts India will be one of the favourites in the upcoming World T20 cricket championship. The tournament starts on January 30. The final is on February 12.
The Australian Blind and Vision Impaired team has departed for India in preparation for the Blind Twenty20 World Cup. The event which features 10 nations will take place at venues right across India.
Australian coach David Drew, who is also assistant coach of Women’s Big Bash League side Hobart Hurricanes is confident in his side’s chances on the world stage.
“We’re very athletic and we’re good in the field,” Drew said. “We’ve got some of the quickest bowlers in the world and our batting is definitely improving.”
New South Wales’ Lindsay Heaven will captain the side, with Queensland’s Matt McCarthy named vice-captain. The side has one female representative – Victoria’s Christine Casey.
Members of the squad have just represented their States at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Geelong that concluded on Tuesday.
The combined South Australia / Western Australia team were victorious in the Blind and Vision Impaired Division of the event. However more importantly for the Australian squad the timing of the tournament was an ideal preparation.
“The National Cricket Inclusion Championships have been really important for us in preparation for India,” said Australian captain Lindsay Heaven.
“It’s great because it’s the start of a bonding experience which is crucial as a lot of guys will be on the road for more than a month.”
“Our goal is to win the World Cup. We’re no different to any other side, we want to go away and win,” continued Heaven.
“We think we’ve got the side to do it. We’re a new side with most of the team in their early twenties if not teens so lots of excitement there and good for them to get the experience.”
‘India a strong side’
The subcontinent teams will enter the event as strong favourites, however Australian Assistant Coach Daniel Drew believes if his side plays to their full potential Australia can cause some issues for their opposition.
“Everyone knows that India is a strong team but cricket is a funny game and on your day you can beat anybody,” said Drew.
“All it takes is for someone to be off a little bit and us to be right on and I think we can be a very competitive team in India.”
The squad features players from right across the country, with Victoria (four), New South Wales (four), South Australia (three), Queensland (three), Western Australia (two) and ACT (one) all represented.
Australia T20 Blind Cricket World Cup Squad
B3: Matt McCarthy – vice-captain (QLD), Stephen Palmer (SA), Steffan Nero (WA), Ray Moxly (QLD), Mike Hamilton (ACT), Jack McAlister (QLD), Ned Brewer (VIC)
B2: Lindsay Heaven - captain (NSW), Matt Cameron (NSW), Dan Pritchard (VIC), Brad Brider (WA), Mark Haskett (SA)
B1: Brendan Spencer (VIC), Michael Zannis (SA), Vaughan Roles (NSW), David Saxberg (NSW), Christine Casey (VIC)