Head coach puts his faith in Thomas ahead of Australia tour
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Saffron Walden’s Daniel Thomas might be one of the newest faces in England’s Learning Disabilities cricket team, but head coach Derek Morgan insists this won’t stop him throwing him in at the deep end Down Under.
Aged just 20, Thomas is a relative newcomer to the Three Lions environment having first joined up with the squad last summer.
But despite having been around for less than a year, Morgan has seen enough of Thomas to name him in his 15-strong squad heading to Australia.
England are set to take on Australia in four one day internationals and two T20 matches, the first of which gets going on March 17.
And while former Saffron Walden County High School pupil Thomas is yet to feature for England in an international clash, Morgan is not about to let that stand in his way.
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“Daniel is one of the most recent additions to the squad who joined in the summer of 2014,” Morgan said. “He’s a left arm bowler from Essex who is working really hard to press and stake a claim for inclusion in the team during this tour.
“He’s a fascinating young man with lots of interests. He was a torch bearer for the 2012 Olympics and has done lots of work around promoting disability issues in his home area.
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“He’s a tremendous ambassador for the squad and is working exceptionally hard to stake his claim for inclusion in the team.
“The dynamic of the rest of the playing group is really supportive and I would say the challenges and fears the players might have held a few years ago don’t exist.
“And Dan is the epitome of that and we feel he has been able to integrate very easily.”
Back in 2011 England’s Learning Disabilities cricket team whitewashed their Australian rivals 2-0 in a Tri-Nations competition, and Morgan believes lightning can strike twice with Thomas’ help.
“They are a fantastic group and it’s just about managing them well,” he added. “The added incentive of it being a traditional rivalry when we go out there in their environment is a fabulous challenge for me as a coach and for the players.
“I’m so excited by it and I think the players are feeling the same emotions and are really up for it.
“We are really confident that we are doing all we can do for our players and giving them the platform to go and play.
“If we do that then we will be very competitive and can make a real impact over there because I think this is the best prepared LD squad we have ever had in place.”
ECB is an inclusive organisation providing support and a pathway for disability cricket from grassroots to elite. Follow the England Learning Disability squad in Australia at www.ecb.co.uk. To find out how to get involved in Learning Disability cricket contact your local cricket board