CRICKET Australia have announced that Australia’s top cricketers with a disability will battle it out in an Ashes series against England in a highly anticipated return to play scheduled for June 1-15.
Coach of the Australian Cricket Team for players with an Intellectual Disability, Maleny resident Nathan Dodd, said it had been a tough few years for the sport, with the previous two National Cricket Inclusion Championships being called off due to the pandemic and travel restrictions.
He said the upcoming International Cricket Inclusion Series to be held at the Australian Cricket Campus in Brisbane would be a fantastic opportunity for players to get back on the field and represent their country in the sport they love.
“Obviously the whole community, and not just the cricket community, has had a lot of challenges over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. For me personally it will be great to see our players out on the ground and having fun taking on England,” said Nathan.
The series will see the Australian Blind, Deaf and Intellectual Disability squads play five T20Is and three ODI (one day international) matches against their British opponents. Nathan said this will be the first international series since the 2019 Global Games in Brisbane for the Intellectual Disability team and will no doubt be a very competitive ashes series for all three teams competing.
With players ranging from ages 18-34, Nathan explained that the process of finalising the squad of 14/15 is currently underway, and he had been travelling interstate to see how the players were progressing while also keeping an eye out on any potential new talented players.
“Once the team is finalised we will have a pre-tournament high performance camp in Brisbane. Currently the players are training in their state satellite programs, and we also conduct online sessions with strength and conditioning specialists for the squad,” said Nathan.
As a Level 3 high performance coach, Nathan has reached the highest level of cricket coaching accreditation in Australia. As well as coaching the Australian Cricket Team for players with an Intellectual Disability since 2017, as an elite level players coach, in recent years Nathan has also consulted internationally in countries including Nepal and New Zealand. Nathan has been a passionate advocate for the game since he was a boy, and as a youth played for NSW, going on to play first grade Premier Cricket in Sydney with Manly Warringah, as well as 2nd XI County Cricket with Kent and Worcestershire in England. He said he particularly loved the tactical and technical side of the game as well as the competitiveness.
“Nowadays I really love the coaching mentoring side of the game, but the best part is the friendships I’ve been able to form all over the world. I love being able to have a positive impact on young peoples lives and cricket coaching is my way of achieving that,” said Nathan.