Nelson’s Qasim Ali believes his England Physical Disability (PD) cricket team’s victory in the first international tournament in the sport’s history has laid the foundations for the introduction of a World Cup.
Ali, was appointed head coach of the England PD team in May 2014 and just a few months later it became apparent the sport was set to have its first multi-team competition, with only England and Pakistan having previously faced each other in two series in 2012 and 2014.
So last month’s inaugural Red Cross International T20 Tournament for people with Physical Disabilities was a truly ground-breaking event as they were joined by Afghanistan, India and hosts Bangladesh.
England went on to win the event with a 19-run victory over Pakistan in the final on September 10 and Ali was delighted all of hisand the players’ hard work over the past year had paid off.
The 32-year-old, who has lived in Nelson his whole life, said: “I am hugely proud of the lads and from a management point of view it is a huge achievement. We started planning this in October last year once we got wind of the competition and we have really tried to develop the brand of cricket that we want to play.
“The goal we had was to become world champions but we didn’t really know what we would have to do to do that because we had only previously played Pakistan.
“But we worked hard on our fundamental skills over the winter and pushed the players out of their comfort zones.”
England lost their opening game against Bangladesh but went on to beat India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the group stages before beating Pakistan once more in the final. The overall goal of the England and Wales Cricket Board and a number of the other governing bodies is to eventually introduce a World Cup.
And Ali, who is also the lead coach for Lancashire CCC’s Indoor Cricket Centre, added:
“Without a shadow of a doubt this is a step in the right direction as we work towards setting up a World Cup.
“Now we have five teams involved, hopefully there will be a knock-on effect with the others and I know we already have two other teams interested.
“I think we are looking at 2019 for a potential first World Cup ideally because the men’s and women’s events are on then as well. “
• To find out more about any of ECB’s four disability programmes (Physical Disability, Learning Disability, Deaf or Visually Impaired) please visit www.ecb.co.uk and search disability or email firstname.lastname@example.org