"Deaf cricket offers the chance for deaf people to have a chance to get involved with a lot more deaf people as there is very limited things for deaf people to do also its the fact that deaf people get overlooked for academies because a lot of county teams won’t take deaf people on which ruins everyone’s dream of making through the ranks to eventually wanting to represent the national team whereas this gives all us deaf people the chance to represent their nation and prove to people that even though we are deaf we can still play the game at a high standard. The mainstream game is good but doesn’t offer deaf people the chance to progress."
"My 13 year old son is very new to deaf cricket having attended only the indoor training over the winter with Surrey and some outdoor fixtures with the highlight being the trials at ECPC Loughborough.
He plays cricket at many different levels from club cricket at U13 and U15s through to representing his school and North County Region Performance Centre U13s.
Why is deaf cricket important? From his point of view he has a disadvantage to normal hearing cricketers, in theory hearing aids make things equal, actually this in not true, hearing aids are not very effective in the cricketing environment, being principally a top order/opening batsman communication with batting partner is key. Hearing aids do not always pick up the sounds other players hear but on a windy they become a distraction and also prevent him hearing his partner. This presents an additional challenge for him so in simple terms Deaf cricket is important as all players are equal.
Additionally, involvement in deaf cricket allows him to develop techniques on an equal basis with other deaf players that will support him playing cricket with normal hearing player.
Young cricketers are inspired by role models within the sport, this is a basic principal of player development, having a deaf cricket pathway with county teams supporting the England representative team via ECAD, this provides an exciting platform for young player development their skills. Following my son’s player experience at ECPC, playing cricket with England representative players is a massively inspirational opportunity. "
"Deaf Cricket provides an essential aspect for my 14-year-old Deaf son’s physical, social, mental and psychological development. The major contributing factor here is the collective provided by the deaf programme which is not present in mainstream cricket.
In mainstream cricket at youth level my son has been subjected to abuse about his hearing by opposition teams while both bowling and batting, to the extent that he was considering giving up cricket. Without the Deaf programme he would have given up the game by now. With it, he is thriving in all aspects of his life.
For people with disabilities you have to reset the metric on which you measure success or at least prioritise other elements that may well be taken for granted for able bodied people. Key for deaf people is not to feel isolated and marginalised from society, participating in the Deaf programme provides this feeling of belonging (to something great and worthwhile) alongside regular exercise from matches, coaching and training.
As a parent I would happily continue to fully support the Deaf programme."
"For my son, deafness was only part of the issues he was left with after contracting bacterial meningitis at the age of 10 months. As with many other similar youngsters, he also had developmental challenges, which we addressed through private education at an early age. In addition, to suited academic education he also enjoyed a fulfilling school sports life including racket sports, as well as developing his love of cricket. With an Indian sub-continent ethnic background, he also had ample opportunity to watch (on TV and live) plenty of cricket.
He enjoyed his cricket during his youth, and met with former England Deaf captain, Umesh Valjee at one of the Middx CCC coaching days at Finchley, which led him to meet with the local Deaf cricket association. He was given an opportunity to play with Deaf adults during this time, several years ago, and although an unusual situation for him, he grew to like it very quickly. Above all, we feel it provided him a sense of identity, amongst Deaf peers, both youngsters and Adults, winning and losing together.
This companionship has now helped in adult life as he has both Deaf and Hearing friends, and is certainly able to relate to the Deaf world much more. He has built a close friendship also with Deaf peers amongst Surrey Deaf Cricket Club and ECAD Lions.
During his school years, he was certainly proud of his association with Deaf cricket, and also had active encouragement from the cricket coaching staff at school. He continues to play both mainstream and Deaf cricket, and they are both NOT mutually exclusive.
Whilst we understand, that medical advances are helping Deaf children to hear, it's important to note that Cochlear Implants by themselves do not reverse deafness. The social development issues associated with deafness remain, and as such Deaf Cricket allow inclusion, in much the same way as Women's cricket. Deafness remains a disability, and I would very much hope that the cricketing bodies continue to view Deaf Cricket as a key way of promoting social inclusion within this community."
"I strongly feel Deaf Cricket in England should always continue to grow as we know that there are so many young (and adult!) cricketers who will benefit to enjoy as well as improve their cricket within a deaf community i.e. in a deaf cricket team/club or being coached by a deaf coach and/or any coach that uses sign language.
The reason I feel this way is that I have personally experience playing cricket in a number of 'hearing' clubs and as much as I thrive to enjoy my cricket I have never found experience in a hearing club fully satisfied, all down to lack of communication and deaf awareness. For many years as a youngster (since I was 8-9 years old) I have enjoyed playing cricket on the field but struggle to 'fit' in the team such as in the changing room, in the clubhouse during tea and after the games as I hardly understand a word that was spoken to me. There are often times when my team mates 'patronise' me saying well done or well played when I have only scored less than 20 runs or taken none or one wicket.
Because of the lack of communication during and after games I have found it hard to improve my game as I have done a lot of self-analysis thinking about my game and spending a lot of time in the nets without proper coaching. As a qualified coach myself I know I would have improved so much during my early years if I have received support and coaching through communication that I understand. I have been involved in the England Deaf cricket team for 5 years and the whole experience with training and playing cricket with Deaf peers and receiving coaching through an interpreter have been a huge help but sadly it wasn't the same at my club level that I had to rely a lot every week to work/improve on my game. I believe because of that I have never really cemented my place in the starting XI for the England team having not made continuous improvement in my game.
I had to make a brave decision to withdraw myself from the England Deaf team all down to lack of motivation to work on my game outside the 'set-up' and I got to the point when I got really tired of moving around in different clubs to find the right environment for me and there was no avail. In the last 3-4 years I have enjoyed my cricket again and re-kindled with my love of cricket with the Surrey Deaf club mainly because we all are playing within the same community in terms of enjoyment and removing the communication barrier altogether."
"I would like to express my appreciation for all the hard work you have put into developing deaf cricket over recent years and for the opportunity you have provided for my son to take part in the deaf cricket programme.
My son is profoundly deaf and uses a cochlear implant to access sound. He has been involved in cricket since the age of 9, when our local cricket club ran a series of taster sessions at his primary school. Over the past few years he has played for the Under 10, Under 11 and under 13 sides in his home town. Now. aged 14, he occasionally plays for the adult 2nd XI.
A few years ago, he was given the opportunity to train with the Shropshire disabled team and the coaches were impressed with his ability, both with the bat and ball, and would have liked him to play for the team. However, deafness is not a disability that would qualify him to play.
His PE teachers at school, recognising his potential as a player, put us in touch with ECAD. Consequently, this summer he has had the opportunity to take part in a number of deaf cricket games and meet a range of other players from across the country. He has thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to mix and play cricket with other hearing-impaired youngsters and adults. The older players, and particularly the team captains, have made him feel very welcome and this has helped to enhance his experience.
At present, with no local under 15 team and only occasional chances to play for the club 2nd XI, deaf cricket is very important in sustaining his involvement in the game. As a parent, I have been impressed by the standard of play and I am sure that If he had the opportunity to train and play regularly with the other deaf players the quality of his game would improve. The players that we have met at deaf cricket games are excellent role models for younger, less confident deaf children in the wider community.
The ECB Inclusion Policy, in its fourth target, states that it aims to achieve a ‘10% increase in the number of disabled people playing cricket’, and that to ‘meet this target, we will: — Engage and recruit role models for disabled players’ and ‘Ensure that pathways through the game for ……. disabled people are welcoming and inclusive’. Deafness is a disability. The ECAD and the ECAD Academy are clearly pathways that provide deaf players with a route into and through cricket. The deaf young players that I have met this summer are excellent ambassadors for the game and I would hope that, one day, my son would be in a position to fulfil this role with the next generation of young players."